Monday, August 29, 2011

If There's One More Damn "Animals Can Sense Earthquakes" Article

Really. Thinking about it evolutionarily, it makes no sense. Ten thousand years ago why would any animal have cared about an earthquake? Including us. "Oooh! Some leaves fell on me from a tree that was shaking!" By far the strongest feedback from an earthquake to the fitness of any animal is to us, and recently at that. Yes, there are tsunamis. They are rare. What's the highest fraction of the total population of any mammal species (for example) that died in a tsunami? Seriously guys.

A few years ago a guy in San Francisco said he could predict earthquakes based on dogs running away. Then a bunch of dogs ran away and he said, "It's coming!" and it didn't come, and now we don't hear from him anymore. If only the same were true for all the nutbars after the East Coast quake last week.

3 comments:

dbonfitto said...

An earthquake early warning system would only be an advantageous trait for a creature that can either fly, or run fast enough and far enough in the right direction.

Wait a minute...do you think that all those bones that dogs bury are actually a giant seismographic array?

Michael Caton said...

But that's exactly what I mean. Why? Even in a huge tsunami like Japan had this year, the water went a couple miles inland max. There's just not much risk from an earthquake if you live outside. Here's a video of a 6.0 near Parkfield, the notoriously active area in Central CA where the faults familiar to NorCal diverge from each other (Hayward and Calaveras from San Andreas). Devastation! Not really, just some twigs and leaves. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQDZhiAOquk

dbonfitto said...

Some of our earliest ancestors had the instincts to hide from predators in a door frame and to camouflage themselves by getting in a bathtub and putting a mattress on top of it.

Also, how do you know that earthquakes aren't actually caused by dogs running away? The messenger has become the message!