Tuesday, October 4

killer dolphin update

dolphin anatomy

Note lack of weapons mounted on dolphin

It turns out that, as I suspected in my earlier blog post, the story of armed dolphins trained by the U.S. Navy that escaped during hurricane Katrina is, like the movie "Austin Powers," fiction.

This Museum of Hoaxes post looks into the story, and links to this nice FAQ from the Navy, which says:
Does the Navy train its dolphins for offensive warfare, including attacks on ships and human swimmers or divers?

No. The Navy does not now train, nor has it ever trained, its marine mammals to harm or injure humans in any fashion or to carry weapons to destroy ships. A popular movie in 1973 ("The Day of the Dolphin") and a number of charges and claims by animal rights organizations have resulted in theories and sometimes actual beliefs that Navy dolphins are assigned attack missions. This is absolutely false. Since dolphins cannot discern the difference between enemy and friendly vessels, or enemy and friendly divers and swimmers, it would not be wise to give that kind of decision authority to an animal. The animals are trained to detect, locate, and mark all mines or all swimmers in an area of interest or concern, and are not trained to distinguish between what we would refer to as good or bad. That decision is always left to humans.

Of course they would deny it. But regardless, the original newspaper article relied primarily on a source who is highly questionable. The paper has quoted him before on the possibility of armed dolphins and crop circles, among other things. Museum of Hoaxes sums up the picture thus:
In other words, Leo Sheridan is The Observer's resident crackpot-on-call. They must phone him up whenever they want to add a bit of drama or weirdness to their stories.


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