Dolphins and the US Military

Did you know that our favorite animal, the dolphin, has helped the United States military? The military has been known to train marine animals such as dolphins and sea lions.

Echolocation, the use of sound to locate objects, helps bottlenose dolphins find underwater mines for the Navy. While sea lions were used to help find lost equipment or swimmers due to their extraordinary sense of sight.

Dolphins make sounds underwater which then bounce off of objects, giving them a picture of what their surroundings look like. Dolphins have been valuable assets to the military since the 60s. Technology hasn’t been able to replicate their exceptional ability to locate targets and mines. Since it comes naturally to the bottlenose dolphins, they are also very quick. So if a machine were ever able to learn to use echolocation, it’s unlikely to work as fast or as perfect.

Paul Nachtigall from the University of Hawaii conducted an experiment in the 90s in which a dolphin was able to distinguish between stainless steel, brass, and aluminum, even while buried under the mud!

Get an up-close look at these amazing mammals on the Dolphin Quest boat tour in John’s Pass.

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