ABSTRACT: It has been suggested that some animals are much more capable of perceiving certain kinds of geophysical stimuli which may precede earthquakes than humans, but the anecdotal phenomena or stories about unusual animal behaviors prior to an earthquake should be interpreted with objective data. During the Wenchuan magnitude 8.0 earthquake that happened in Wenchuan county (31.0 degrees north latitude, 103.4 degrees east longitude) of Sichuan province, China, on May 12, 2008, eight mice were monitored for locomotor activity and circadian rhythm in constant darkness with temperature 22-24 degrees C and humidity 55-65% for 38 days. The ongoing monitoring of locomotor activity of mice in our laboratory made it possible to design a posteriori study investigating whether the earthquake was associated with any change in animal behavior. Based on analyzing the recorded data with single cosinor, we found that the locomotor activity dramatically decreased in six of these eight mice on day 3 before the earthquake, and the circadian rhythm of their locomotor activity was no longer detected. The behavioral change lasted for 6 days before the locomotor activity returned to its original state. Analyses of concurrent geomagnetic data showed a higher total intensity during the span when the circadian rhythm in locomotor activity weakened. These results indicated that the behaviors, including circadian rhythm and activity, in these mice indeed changed prior to the earthquake, and the behavioral change might be associated with a change of geomagnetic intensity.
Bioelectromagnetics 08/2009; 30(8):613-20. · 1.84 Impact Factor