News Stories

Dolphins on the Attack

The Ukraine has trained dolphins to be attack animals, ready to go after enemy swimmers, wearing knives on their noses. The Soviet Union originated this program, and turned over to Ukraine after the Cold War. The program includes training dolphins to search for underwater mines and mark them with buoys.

On the Wired.com website, Robert Beckhusen quotes the US Navy, which also has a trained mammal program, as saying, "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."

In fact, the Russian state media agency reports that three of these dolphins have escaped from a Ukrainian naval training base, possibly in search of suitable mates. In the Huffington Post, Meredith Bennett-Smith quotes former Soviet naval anti-sabotage officer Yury Plyachenko as saying, "If a male dolphin saw a female dolphin during the mating season, then he would immediately set off after her. But they came back in a week or so." Meanwhile, swimmers in the area should be on the lookout.

We're familiar with dolphin clicks and squeaks, but did you know that they are calling each other by NAME? These "signature squeaks" are how they identify themselves to one another.

On Wired.com, Brandon Keim quotes biologist Stephanie King as saying, "They use these when they want to reunite with a specific individual. It's a friendly, affiliative sign." And dolphins recognize the signature whistles of the other dolphins they know. It turns out that signature whistles are taught to dolphins by their mothers, in the same way that human parents name a child.

Whistle names were discovered in Florida, when pairs of dolphins were captured and held in separate nets for a few hours so researchers could photograph and study them.

The dolphins couldn't see each other, but they could hear each other and they continued to communicate. They seemed to be using their whistles to keep in touch with the dolphins they knew best, just like two friends might if suddenly and unexpectedly separated while walking down a street (or abducted by Visitors?

Dolphins live in a community and "contactees" do too (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to both of these dynamic interviews). Make sure you support the website you love so much if you want us to continue bringing you our wonderful news of the edge. Do your part: Join our community and subscribe today.

And come "squeak" at some of these folks in person at our extraordinary Nashville Symposium, where you'll get to MEET other members of our community! To get your tickets, click here NOW. The price includes breakfast Saturday and Sunday and lunch on Saturday.



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