Did toads predict last year's earthquake in L'Aquila? Some British researchers say yes.
In a new report published in the Zoological Society of London's Zoological Journal, British researcher Rachel Grant, says the breeding habits of the common toad can predict natural disasters. She based her findings on the behavior of toads in L'Aquila, Italy, in the days before and after the region's devastating earthquake last year.
Grant was part of a team of scientists from Open University studying toads in central Italy. The team noticed a sudden, sharp decline in the population of a popular breeding site.
In an audio interview available on the BBC's Web site, Grant shares her findings, noting that five days before last week's earthquake in L'Aquila, 96 percent of male toads abandoned a breeding site located 46 miles from the quake's epicenter. Then, as soon as the earthquake ended, the toads began to return. "It was just a fortuitous observation," she told BBC interviewers.
How is this possible? Grant says the toads may be detecting early radio waves, gravity waves or the release of gases from the ground prior to the disaster.