Mine-seeking dolphins make historic discovery

howell torpedo

Slashdot shares a story of mine-seeking dolphins making a historic discovery – a 11-foot long torpedo from 19th century.  Apparently, there were only 50 of this ever made, and this is the second one being discovered.

When first created, the Howell torpedo had major implications for helping the United States be the dominant naval force in the world. The design was quickly outdated, though. Only about 50 were ever made, between 1870 and 1889, when the technology was surpassed.

The 11-foot long torpedo is made of brass and had a range of 400 yards while traveling at 25 knots. Not bad for the 1800s.

The dolphins themselves follow simple system for alerting the Navy of any found objects. They take a dive and, if they find nothing, touch the back of the boat with their snouts. If they find something, they touch the front of the boat.

Sharks with laser beams and telepathic seals: it’s your move now.