Whilst working as a conservation volunteer on the otherwise uninhabited Curieuse Island in the Seychelles, I heard a very interesting story.
Jason, the Curieuse Island ranger, told me how when he arrived on the morning of 24th December 2004 he was dumbfounded to discover that all the slow lumbering giant tortoises had disappeared. They normally live close to the beach and he assumed that Indian Ocean pirates or poachers must have stolen them during the night.
Two days later the most devastating tsunami in recorded history struck – but the slow lumbering giant tortoises had all taken to the hills and climbed, with considerable difficulty, up onto high ground. 150,000 people died on the first day, but no giant tortoises.
It seems that scientists, and the rest of us, are missing a low-tech trick for a tsunami early warning system.