A friend wrote recently to tell me that we learned recently from the BBC that toads can ‘predict earthquakes’ and seismic activity
Common toads appear to be able to sense an impending earthquake and will flee their colony days before the seismic activity strikes.
The evidence comes from a population of toads which left their breeding colony three days before an earthquake that struck L’Aquila in Italy in 2009. How toads sensed the quake is unclear, but most breeding pairs and males fled. They reacted despite the colony being 74km from the quake’s epicentre, say biologists in the Journal of Zoology. It is hard to objectively and quantifiably study how animals respond to seismic activity, in part because earthquakes are rare and unpredictable. Some studies have been done on how domestic animals respond, but measuring the response of wild animals is more difficult.
Well, that is probably one reason why they are “common” toads, not “endangered” toads.
There is nothing unusual about this, just neglected information.
Many types of animals make use of early warning systems that humans never notice.
Check out Rupert Sheldrake’s work on animal early warning systems. Dawkins tried to make a fool of him, but Sheldrake had the good sense a few years ago to throw him out of his lab.
Anyway, if you live near the ocean, and see hordes of toads hopping frantically uphill … follow them.
Note: Comments keep getting closed here (doubtless bug in system), so I will just say re Lenoxus at 5: It is the alleged Darwin-only “experimentation” around woven basket nests that is completely unbelievable – not anything else you have written about birds laying eggs. Obviously, too many eggs would get broken in a Darwin-only process to enable survival of the species. I notice you smuggled that in at the end. You seem to need to save the idea of a Darwin-only process involving implausible experimentation because you MUST believe it. Why don’t you guys just admit that you are blowing smoke, and more and more people know it? See Cordova above.
Note 2: Beyond a certain point, population declines become irreversible – and that is probably an important factor in extinction.