Friday, 16 May 2008

Death toll 50,000 likely, damage $20 billion

As the death toll grows, the race to save survivors is on, with every glimmer of hope growing weaker... :(

apparently animals can detect things natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis



The belief that animals get advance warning of when the earth is going to shake has been around for centuries and is very much the stuff of legend. Scientists recoil with horror at the idea of extra-sensory perception or precognition. What is possible, they concede, is that animals have keener senses, greater awareness of their surroundings and are hard-wired to take prompt action...

In general, animals sense impending danger by reacting to what to us are subtle or abrupt shifts in the environment, says Dr Alan Rabinowitz, director of science and exploration at the Wildlife Conservation Society, based at the Bronx Zoo in New York. Aside from detecting vibrations, they may pick up electromagnetic changes in the atmosphere and there have been reports of luminescence in the sky before earthquakes.

There may even be an explanation of how this heightened sense emerged. In the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, five years ago, Prof Joseph Kirschvink of Caltech in Pasadena argued that a "seismic escape response" could not be dismissed out of hand on purely biological grounds. Over the past 500 million years, animals evolving in earthquake zones have had ample time - and possess adequate sensory abilities - to evolve earthquake-prediction responses. (Assuming, of course, Prof Kirschvink stresses now, that impending earthquakes actually produce precursory signals.) ...

Fascinating! Now where can I get me an elephant? ;)

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