Animals ability to sense impending natural disasters.

  1. Elephents in thailand heading to high ground before tsunami. Animals acting funny before earthquakes. Etc.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. I saw a test done once where dog's could sense their masters coming home. It was an interesting test.
     
  4. Likewise, the reputed ability of dogs to sense when someone is about to have a seizure may have been overblown:

    http://www.epilepsy-cf.org/seizure_dogs.htm
     
  5. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,539
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    A buddy and I once had his dog track us down out in the middle of the woods, several miles from his house. We had just parked when he startled both of us when he jumped into the bed of the truck.

    My guess was that he followed the exhaust trail. I don't see how he could have followed the sound of the engine echoing through the hills. And as quickly as he found us, it was almost certainly not blind luck.
     
  6. Very likely though he could just have easily followed your sent. Watch those police shows enough or science shows on dogs and you will see them track people who have driven away in vehicles. Shoot they can smell cancer in your body. Amazing what they can do scent wise.
     

  7. It is crazy to think that an animal would be able to sense a natural disaster. But what really confuses me is how the elephant decided to go to high ground. I'm sure the animal doesn't know what a tsunami is and that high ground is the answer. Why didn't it get scared and maybe run or hide in a hidden area. It knew to go to high ground.
     
  8. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,539
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    Perhaps in the case of the Tsunami, they could sense ground vibrations and the direction of the source, and ran the other way.
     
  9. My dog always whimpers at the door when members of family normally come home, even if they don't come home because of an engagement that evening.
     
  10. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
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    I've moved this thread over to biology from Skepticism and Debunking, because it's really not very unexplained that different animals sense the environment differently than humans do, and are also more sensitive to things in the environment (including changes in weather) that humans either fail to perceive, or fail to react to upon perceiving. There's no reason not to discuss this from a biological perspective. We may not know the precise mechanisms at this time, but I am unaware of any credible explanation other than one involving the sensory systems.

    However, upon moving it, I removed the sidetrack in the thread that does not directly address the opening question, and is not suitable for biology. I will discuss with Ivan if it is worth splitting into it's own thread in S&D, or leaving deleted, so it is deleted for now until we figure out what to do with it (just so anyone following this thread knows where their posts have gone if they were ones affected by the deletions).
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2007
  11. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    Elephants, or rather their feet, are sensitive to low frequency vibrations, and they apparently communicate over long distances through the ground using low frequency vibration - IIRC in the Hz range. Humans may not be sufficiently sensitive to it.

    The speed of sound will be much faster in solid ground than water, so pressure waves would precede a tsunami. Perhaps the elephants sense the disturbances in the ground caused by the quake or tsunami and decided to head in the opposite direction.

    If one stands by a roadway (particularly with bare feet), one can feel the vibrations from cars and trucks. It's a normal phenomenon.
     
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