After earthquakes and tsunamis, stories often circulate of animals acting strangely or seeming to know of the disaster long before humans. Following the Dec. 26, 2004, Asian tsunami, some (erroneous) news reports claimed that no dead animals had been killed by the tsunami (they had supposedly all fled to higher ground), confirming animals' sixth sense.
A recent video showing a dog seemingly sensing an impending earthquake at a California newspaper office has popped up on YouTube.
What do we make of this? Is this evidence of a paranormal "sixth sense", as some people claim?
Animals that detect impending earthquakes don't necessarily have more senses than humans; they just have much higher sensitivity. The fact that animals have keener senses than humans is well-documented. Dogs have a remarkable sense of smell, birds can migrate using celestial cues, and bats can locate food with echoes. Elephants can detect faint vibrations and tremors (such as other elephants' footsteps) from fantastic distances.