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Instincts of Animals

  1. Oct 19, 2011 #1
    Is it true that animals knew beforehand about the occurrence of natural calamities such as earthquakes and Tsunami?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 19, 2011 #2
    This is the physics philosophy forum. For all other questions I refer you to:

  4. Oct 19, 2011 #3


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    I believe there have been reliable studies that show that some animals under some conditions become aware of natural events before humans do but there's nothing "instinctual" about it, nor is it in any way mysterious. They just have better senses than we do and can detect some things (earth tremors, for example) more readily than we can.
  5. Oct 19, 2011 #4


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    "animals" is a really broad designation. Elephants, for instance, can detect subsonic signals and they have big feet, so they might be more inclined to detect the primary wave of an earthquake. But then again, a primary wave traveling through the air will not reach the elephant as fast as the secondary wave traveling through Earth.

    Note that the "instincts" of the animal aren't much different from ours. Once we detect a catastrophic event we run, freeze, etc, whatever our adrenal response is.

    The significant part is the detection, not the instinct. Do animals have the physical apparatus necessary to detect the signal? That should be the question.
  6. Oct 19, 2011 #5
    During the most recent season of River Monsters, Jeremy Wade visited Japan and checked in with a researcher who was testing the Japanese lore that catfish know when an earthquake is coming.

    To accomplish this, he just kept catfish in a tank, monitored their level of activity round the clock, and waited for earthquakes. Indeed, the monitoring devices demonstrated that their level of activity always increased dramatically in the hours prior to a quake.

    Seems to me it's a no-brainer to jump to using catfish activity-level as a predictive tool.
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