MILTON KEYNES, England, April 1 (UPI) — British scientists say they’ve discovered common toads can detect impending earthquakes, sometimes days in advance of any apparent seismic activity.
Researchers from The Open University said they found 96 percent of male toads (Bufo bufo) in a population abandoned their breeding site five days before an earthquake struck L’Aquila in Italy last year. The breeding site was located about 45 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter.
The scientists said the number of paired toads at the site also dropped to zero three days before the earthquake.
“Our study is one of the first to document animal behavior before, during and after an earthquake,” the study’s lead author, Rachel Grant, said. “Our findings suggest that toads are able to detect pre-seismic cues, such as the release of gases and charged particles, and use these as a form of earthquake early warning system.”
The research is reported in the Zoological Society of London’s Journal of Zoology.
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