No, there are not dolphins with guns on their heads loose in the Black Sea

Ukrainian dolphins trained to find underwater mines and kill enemy divers have skirted their navy handlers and swam off, apparently in search of mates, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Gawker also freaked out about dolphins loose with guns attached to their heads. I must be getting a bit immune to the headline hype because it barely made a blip in my brain. But today, the story is updated. Sometimes, it pays to wait.
It turns out that one piece of the Ukrainian dolphin story is, in fact, a hoax. No dolphins from the Ukrainian army’s complement have actually escaped, according to this newspaper report. The hoax began with this faked report from the museum director, which led to a story by RIA Novosti.
The Atlantic writer notes that it seems pretty plausible which gave the story “legs”. And, it had a kernel of truth: dolphins have really been used for military applications.  No doubt about that. It’s not a stretch to believe this could happen or HAS happened in the past and could again. It’s yet another example of not assuming everything in the news is true but keeping an eye out for clarifications.
The story of Navy dolphins is a fascinating history.

  8 comments for “No, there are not dolphins with guns on their heads loose in the Black Sea

  1. Chris Howard
    March 13, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    From sharks with lasers to dolphins with guns. So what, twenty years for a comedy fiction to morph into an urban legend?

  2. March 13, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    You know if you haven’t read the story that is still the best headline ever.

  3. Chris Howard
    March 13, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Another reason why we need manditory background checks. 😉

  4. Phil
    March 13, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Too bad because that’s an awesome story!

  5. Eve
    March 13, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    If we outlaw guns, only outlaw dolphins will have guns on their heads. One dolphin was quoted as saying, “You can take my gun from my cold dead flippers.”

  6. Flucksy
    March 14, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    This sounds like a plot synopsis for a B list Sci Fi film. How can people take that seriously?

  7. Graham
    March 15, 2013 at 5:17 AM

    There is such a film, ‘The Day of the Dolphin’ (1973).

    Brian Dunning covered much of what is known back in 2011 in an episode called “Military Dolphins: James Bonds of the Sea”.

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