Animals can feel an earthquake coming. For years it was doubted whether that was possible. In an international study it has now been established that cows, sheep and dogs actually show remarkably restless behavior a few hours before a quake. However, before animal behavior can be used to predict earthquakes, researchers still need to observe a large number of animals over long periods of time in various earthquake zones around the world. For this purpose, they plan to use the global observation system Icarus at the International Space Station ISS, which will begin its scientific work in a few weeks.

The researchers of the Max-Planck Institute of Behavioral Biology in Constance/Radolfzell, Germany, and the Center for the Advanced Study of Collective Behavior of the University of Constance provided sensors to animals in the earthquake region of northern Italy. Months of observations showed that the closer they were to the epicenter, the earlier the strikingly turbulent behavior began.

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