Did Zoo Animals Anticipate the August East Coast Earthquake? | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
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Some animals at the National Zoo detected the east coast earthquake before it hit. (Mehgan Murphy / NZP, SI)

Did Zoo Animals Anticipate the August East Coast Earthquake?

Did Zoo Animals Anticipate the August East Coast Earthquake?

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According to staffers at the national zoo, some animals behaved unusually before the August 23 earthquake. “The orangutan, Kyle (left), and the gorilla, Kojo, five to ten seconds beforehand, they left their food and went to the top of the trees,” said Don Moore, the Zoo’s associate director of animal care. The animals may have detected the “P waves” that hit Washington, D.C. about 15 seconds before the more violent “surface waves.”

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But can animals foretell disaster? Not likely. “Such a claim has been made for a very long time,” says Callan Bentley, a geologist at Northern Virginia Community College. “But people are matching up unrelated events.”

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