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Dolphins discover 19th century torpedo

Howell torpedo

Two bottle-nosed dolphins have found a late-19th century Howell torpedo off the coast of San Diego during training exercises with the U.S. Navy.

“Dolphins naturally possess the most sophisticated sonar known to man,” Braden Duryee, an official at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific said after the surprising discovery.

While not as well known as the Gatling gun and the Sherman tank, the Howell torpedo was hailed as a breakthrough when the U.S. was in heavy competition for dominance on the high seas. It was the first torpedo that could truly follow a track without leaving a wake and then smash a target, according to Navy officials.

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Story: Heather Pringle, Science Magazine | Photo: Corey O’Driscoll, Science Magazine

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