This paper examines the international research on abnormal animal behavior prior to earthquakes, with a focus on Chinese seismology during the Cultural Revolution. China experienced a series of powerful earthquakes in the 1960s and 1970s; in response, its scientists developed approaches to earthquake prediction, including the use of bio-sentinels. The paper demonstrates that Chinese seismology did not treat an earthquake simply as a geophysical event, but rather as an amalgam of environmental phenomena, including sensory experiences. Hence, distributive experience and sensory networks of humans and bio-sentinels constituted an important component of studying the environment. This historical case suggests insights into bio-monitoring of the global environment. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.