Dolphins have been used for 50 years to help the U.S. Navy echolocate mines. That project is going away in 2017 (to be replaced by robots) but in the meantime, a team of Navy dolphins have picked up something a little more vintage.
Off the coast of California, the dolphins, getting Navy training, uncovered what you see here: a Howell torpedo. From 1870 to 1889, a Rhode Island company produced a mere 50 of them, and it’s only the second that’s known to still exist (the other example is in a Keyport, Washington museum).
It might not look like much now, but back in the day, this was a top-shelf torpedo: the 11-foot, brass Howell could shoot 400 yards at 25 knots and was the first torpedo that could follow a track without leaving a wake, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Next step: get these dolphins to search for sunken pirate gold.