Anomalies in animal behavior and meteorological phenomena before major earthquakes have been reported throughout history. Bio-mimetics or bionics aims at learning disaster anticipation from animals. Since modern science is reluctant to address this problem an effort has been made to track down the knowledge available to ancient natural philosophers. Starting with an archaeologically documented human sacrifice around 1700 B.C. during the Minoan civilization immediately before a large earthquake, which killed the participants, earthquake prediction knowledge throughout antiquity is evaluated. Major practical experience with this phenomenon has been gained from a Chinese earthquake prediction initiative nearly half a century ago. Some quakes, like that of Haicheng, were recognized in advance. However, the destructive Tangshan earthquake was not predicted, which was interpreted as an inherent failure of prediction based on animal phenomena. This is contradicted on the basis of reliable Chinese documentation provided by the responsible earthquake study commission. The Tangshan earthquake was preceded by more than 2,000 reported animal anomalies, some of which were of very dramatic nature. They are discussed here. Any physical phenomenon, which may cause animal unrest, must involve energy turnover before the main earthquake event. The final product, however, of any energy turnover is heat. Satellite based infrared measurements have indeed identified significant thermal anomalies before major earthquakes. One of these cases, occurring during the 2001 Bhuj earthquake in Gujarat, India, is analyzed together with parallel animal anomalies observed in the Gir national park. It is suggested that the time window is identical and that both phenomena have the same geophysical origin. It therefore remains to be demonstrated that energy can be released locally before major earthquake events. It is shown that by considering appropriate geophysical feedback processes, this is possible for large scale energy conversion phenomena within highly non-linear geophysical mechanisms. With satellite monitored infrared anomalies indicating possible epicenters and local animal and environmental observations immediately initiated, the learning experience towards an understanding of the phenomena involved could be accelerated.