Chinese seismologists are studying animal behavior in an attempt to predict earthquakes in a country rocked by some of history's most catastrophic temblors, a published report said Tuesday.

More than 10 seismological research centers nationwide are studying the effects of temblors on animal behavior in a bid "to improve the quality of earthquake supervision and prediction," the official Shanghai Wenhui Daily said.The test centers have raised 10 species of animals, including parrots, minks and silver foxes, to collect and analyze information on abnormal behavior of the animals before temblors, the paper said.

Chinese scientists have observed the behavior of 50 different animal species prior to earthquakes and have concluded that domesticated animals such as livestock, chickens and dogs provide the best warnings.

Chinese specialists say certain changes in the Earth's vibration before earthquakes may result in changes in sound that only sensitive animal ears detect.

More than half of China's major cities lie in potentially dangerous seismic zones. More than 100 earthquakes were recorded in China between 1949 and 1986, officials said, causing more than 270,000 deaths.