Elephants Communicate Through Seismic Waves

After the 2004 tsunami disaster struck Southeast Asia there were reports that elephants in Thailand had become agitated and raced to higher ground even before the wave struck the beaches. They may have sensed minor precursor shock waves before the major shock hit the area, but maybe not.

O'Connell-Rodwell points out that a group of elephants in a national park in Sri Lanka had been equipped with satellite collars, and they didn't move at all before the tsunami struck. But seismic waves behave differently in different soils, so it's possible the precursors could be detected in Thailand, but not Sri Lanka.

Although some experiments in Japan and China suggest that some animals, even catfish, can predict earthquakes, the record remains incomplete. All of this suggests, O'Connell-Rodwell said, that there's still much to be learned about communications among animals that humans tend to think are a tad dumb.

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