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The principal focus of research work in China has been on the behavior of pigeons. Biological studies on pigeons determined that a hundred tiny units exist between the tibia and fibula on a pigeon's leg. These nerve units are connected to the nerve center, and are very sensitive to vibrations. Scientists determined that prior to an earthquake of magnitude 4.0, which occurred in the area of the study, fifty pigeons that had severed connections between the tibia, fibula, and the nerve centers, remained calm before the earthquake, while those with normal connections became startled and flew away.
Because of the success in monitoring unusual animal behavior for the prediction of certain earthquakes, the Chinese, who have pioneered this work, have looked into ways to construct instruments that would duplicate the sensory organs of animals which were able to monitor, and sense, stimuli preceding an earthquake. Researchers found it very difficult to understand the mechanism of response stimuli. Physical or chemical stimuli come out of the earth prior to an earthquake and these must be the stimuli that animals can sense. For example, dogs may be able to hear the microfacturing of rocks a few milliseconds before a quake shock reaches the surface. Electromagnetic changes in the earth prior to an earthquake may be sensed by such animals as sharks and catfish which have low or high frequency receptors and sense such changes actively or passively. Also such electromagnetic field changes could be affecting migrating birds and the navigational ability of fish.