It's been widely spread through urban myth, social media & pop culture that animals have some kind of instinct or ability to predict a future earthquake.  But can they really?

Scientists wanted to know too and now they do.

The first scientific study about the phenomenon finds there's no strong evidence that animals can predict earthquakes.

German researchers say most of the "evidence" consists of individual observations and anecdotes that science can't test rigorously.

Study leaders say "animals may sense seismic waves--it could P, S or surface waves--generated by foreshocks.  Another option could be secondary effects triggered by the foreshocks, like changes in groundwater or release of gases from the ground which might be sensed by the animals."

Scientists suggest future studies should include a stricter definition of what constitutes 'unusual or abnormal animal behavior' as well as a physical explanation for the change in behavior.