Can Animals Predict Disaster?
During natural disasters in populated areas, the number of human casualties significantly exceeds the number of dead animals. We will tell how to use the knowledge that animals can sense natural disasters.
What Animals Sensing Natural Disasters?
It is surprising that the snakes, these cold-blooded bastards saved many human lives. It happened in China in 1975. In December 1974, Chinese scientists began to receive regular reports from the seismically unfavorable province of Liaoning about the strange behavior of snakes, which in the daytime began to leave their holes and crawl out on the snow, but they must be in winter hibernation at this time. Unusual behavior of the animals was accompanied by a series of weak jerks, and in January, the authorities made an extraordinary decision – the population of the whole Hainan city, 400,000 people were evacuated.
Soon, in February, the city was completely wiped off the face of the earth by an 8-point earthquake. In the history of seismology, this is almost the only earthquake, which was predicted in advance. The uniqueness of this prediction is also that it was made by animal behavior before natural disasters. In China, they take the biological precursors of earthquakes very seriously: in 1968, the first experimental biostation was founded, where the appropriate observations of animals were made, and now there is a whole network of such biopolitics.
How do animals feel what we cannot feel? There are many different hypotheses on this subject, and perhaps all of them are fair: most likely, there is no single mechanism. Snakes, lizards, reptiles are animals that sense natural disasters by direct connection with the surface of the earth. Snakes have a very developed tactile sensitivity – they feel the slightest vibration. By the way, years and even centuries of observation show that those animals who feel the vibrations of the soil with their skin run from the city first. Obviously, elephants also feel the vibrations of the earth. They can distinguish infrared sounds in clear weather at a distance of up to 13 km. Elephants can ‘hear’ not only with their ears but also with their feet – they have sensitive nerve endings in the soles of their feet.
Usually, elephants walk silently, thanks to special pads on their feet, but when they are excited about something, they stomp heavily, and this stomping is perceived by other elephants at great distances. When elephants pay special attention to the soles of their feet, this usually indicates the approach of another herd. However, their ears also participate in the process of perception. Dr. Joyce Poole, who has worked with elephants in Africa for years, believes that the elephant can easily perceive both acoustic and vibratory precursors of earthquakes or tsunamis. She was near the elephants twice in Kenya during the violent earthquakes, and both times these animals ran away in alarm before the researcher felt the tremors.
By the way, not only elephants can hear infrasounds, but also many other animals, such as cats. Here is another hypothesis: it is the fluctuations of the Earth’s magnetic field, which arise before natural disasters due to shifts in tectonic plates. It is known that many animals, such as migratory birds orientate in their movements on the geomagnetic circuit of the Earth. When there is a geomagnetic anomaly, there is a failure of navigation. Before large earthquakes, mail pigeons are lost in the sky. But in addition to the creatures of the celestial, marine mammals use the electromagnetic field of the Earth to orient; in case of magnetic anomalies, their navigation mechanisms may fail.