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Military Dolphin Research

As intelligent and beautiful creatures of the sea, dolphins long ago captured the imaginations of human beings.Ancient artists in Crete (2500 B.C.) painted frescoes on the walls of the Minoan palace at Knossis of dolphins jumping in the blue Mediterranean waters.Today, we see dolphins depicted on T-shirts, jewelry, posters, and tattoos.During the 1950s, the television program Flipper (played by a dolphin named Mitzi) made dolphin intelligence widely known.For many years, Mitzi was also the star of a dolphin show in the Florida Keys in which she did amazing tricks and pulled children around in a little boat.Moreover, dolphins are friendly and seem to like human beings.Areas where people live close to the water are replete with dolphin stories about the helpfulness and protectiveness of dolphins.They are said to kill sharks, for example, and to nudge little kids back toward shore when they go out too deep in the ocean.Perhaps because there is such affection for these animals, much controversy has arisen over their use by the military in waging war.This essay will argue, however, that military research on dolphins is humane and safe, the animals are not being harmed, and the research is of tremendous benefit both to dolphins and to humans.
The Navy Marine Mammal Program began in 1960 when the Navy acquired a Pacific White-sided dolphin and began experimenting to improve torpedo performance.The goal was to see if dolphins had a sophisticated drag-reduction system, but the technology of the day was not equal to the study, so it was not considered successful. By 1964, however, more sophisticated animal research was done to study their senses and capabilities such as sonar and deep diving.In 1965 a dolphin named Tuffy learned to carry tools to workers 200 feet down and to locate and guide lost divers to safety (Wikipedia – U. S. Navy marine Mammal Program web site).
According to LeVasseur (Whales on the Net &…

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