Emotional support animals, farm animals and zoo animals. What do they all have in common? They predict earthquakes. Or do they? A recent study finds that long-thought claims of dogs, cats and other animals predicting earthquakes are on, well, shaky ground.

Scientists with the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences determined that in most situations, the “evidence” is anecdotal, usually coming from a single observation of unusual animal behavior. Such information does not stand up to rigorous scientific testing, they say.

“Many review papers on the potential of animals as earthquake precursors exist, but to the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that a statistical approach was used to evaluate the data,” argues study co-author Heiko Woith in a release.

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