Look at These Bison Running! Obviously a Volcanic Eruption Is Nigh!

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So this video got posted on YouTube, with the title "Alert! Yellowstone Bison Running for their Lives!" That turned into a whole meme about how the animals of Yellowstone "know" there's a megavolcanic eruption coming. Incoming pseudoscience alert: No, there isn't.

What this video actually demonstrates is how fast a viral panic can spread online, based on what should have been just a cute animal video. We've actually talked to scientists who work every day at the Yellowstone volcano, and the fact is that there would be a series of much larger earthquakes than the ones we've recently seen if the thing were really going to blow.


Over on Doubtful News, Sharon Hill gives the smackdown to these rumors:

The video shows a decent number of animals in row cantering down the (correct) side of the road. How does he know what they were running from? "Running for their lives" is a bit of an exaggeration. In fact, they run like this rather frequently. Maybe they are running from hunters who illegally shot some earlier in March, or wolves, or bear who are emerging from hibernation. It does look weird but they didn't look panicked. What about other animals? I don't see elk and bear running. Or rabbits. Are birds leaving? No mass exodus noted. That would be something that would be more widely reported. The Yellowstone NPS page shows no panic, no drama, no earthquakes, no eruptions imminent. That silence is known as a "news blackout" to the conspiracy-minded. To us, it's known as "nothing doing."


Hill lists a bunch of other hilarious conspiracy theories about why these bison are running, including solar flares. I have also seen people suggesting that this is related to the Chile earthquake, which is itself related to the storm on Saturn. Which — no. Just no, people. Stop it.