Last weekend there was a 4.8 magnitude earthquake in Yellowstone—the biggest earthquake in the park since 1980. However, it did not cause charismatic megafauna to flee en masse or generally run for their lives. Viral videos showing some bison apparently making a hasty retreat are, as in so many cases, misleading.
First of all, it's a myth that animals have a Spidey sense for oncoming earthquakes. There is evidence that seconds before an earthquake, animals begin feeling a type of wave that humans can't, and they may begin to react. But beyond that, it doesn't seem like animals have any type of day's notice. Second of all, even if they did, there is no evidence that they would know the optimal way to react (such as running away from the epicenter of the earthquake).
According to a video released by Yellowstone (below) the bison take the paved roads around Yellowstone to look for food toward the end of long winters—like this year's. "It was a spring-like day and they were frisky. Contrary to online reports, it's a natural occurrence and not the end of the world," a park spokesperson told Reuters.
And the idea that the animals know something we don't about the supervolcano under Yellowstone just isn't true, according to Yellowstone's statements and other scientists. Al Nash, the public affairs chief at Yellowstone, says in the video, "There were no injuries [from the earthquake], there was no damage ... it's just part of the geologic situation that we find here in Yellowstone. We get some pretty wild rumors out there."
Stop trying to make earthquake-sensing animals a thing, Internet.
TODAY IN SLATE
Meet the New Bosses
How the Republicans would run the Senate.
The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Photos of the Crowds That Took Over NYC for the People’s Climate March
Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom
This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059
- Protesters Take to the Streets to Sound Alarm on Climate Change in New York, Across the World
- Knife-Carrying White House Jumper is Vet who Feared “Atmosphere Was Collapsing”
- North Korea: American Sentenced to Hard Labor Wanted to Become “Second Snowden”
- Almost One in Four Americans Support Idea of Splitting From the Union
Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?
A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.