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Killer Dolphins Baffle Marine Experts
Telegraph.co.uk ^ | 25/01/2008 | Nigel Blundell

Posted on 01/26/2008 11:58:30 AM PST by DogByte6RER

Killer dolphins baffle marine experts

By Nigel Blundell

Last Updated: 12:01pm GMT 25/01/2008

It's hard to visualise but the intelligent and ever-friendly dolphin can also be a determined killer.

New evidence has been compiled by marine scientists that prove the normally placid dolphin is capable of brutal attacks both on innocent fellow marine mammals and, more disturbingly, on its own kind.

Film taken of gangs of dolphins repeatedly ramming baby porpoises, tossing them in the air and pursuing them to the death has solved a long-term mystery of what causes the death of so many of these harmless mammals - but has left animal experts baffled as to the motive.

Another mystery is that the animal 'murders' have only been reported in two parts of the world - along Scotland's East Coast and in America off the beaches of Virginia, where even more alarmingly, the victims were scores of the dolphins' own young.

The first clues to solving the riddle came in 1997 when, by coincidence, marine biologists in Virginia were finding young, dead dolphins with horrific internal injuries at the same time as young porpoises were washing up on Scotland's north-east coast with identical causes of death. The body count was growing in both locations.

The two groups of biologists pooled information and, at first, it was believed the mammals had died through 'blast trauma'. In American cases, this was supposedly from exercises by the US Navy, and in Scotland from air guns used by oil rig technicians to detect undersea caverns.

This theory was dismissed after further examination of the mammals' bodies revealed the injuries - broken ribs, imploding lungs, damaged livers and massive internal bleeding - could only have come from prolonged, focused attacks.

When tell-tale teeth-marks were identified, the dolphin - the mammal classified as one of the world's most intelligent, sensitive and sociable creatures - became the official suspect.

Confirmation of the murders came by way of two shocking films shot by holidaymakers.

The first was initially believed to show a dolphin fishing for salmon - until closer examination revealed a relentless attack on a porpoise, its body spinning round with such force that its back was broken and its soft tissue shattered.

Marine experts now believe that these displays of attacks on non-rival, non-predatory, peace-loving porpoises and, more shockingly, of dolphin infanticide, may have always taken place.

It is only now, with dolphins' more human-friendly behaviour taking them closer to tourist boats and beaches, that the violence is being witnessed first hand. Until the shocking realisation, dolphin-watchers in America had believed they were watching the mammals at play with their young.

Four years ago, members of Scots charity the Cetacean Research and Rescue Unit discovered a lifeless porpoise near the harbour at Whitehills, near Banff.

The team described the mammals' injuries as "perhaps the worst example of inter-specific aggression any of us had ever seen. This young female had literally had the life beaten out of her."

Inspection showed multiple lacerations and puncture wounds all over the body which could not have been caused by any other attacker than a bottle-nosed dolphin.

Two of these fatal attacks by dolphins feature in the documentary The Dolphin Murders, being shown in the channel Five series Nature Shock on Tuesday, January 29.

Watching the films, Aberdeen marina biologist Dr Ben Wilson explains yet another shocking phenomenon - that the dolphins use their incredible ultra sound abilties to home in on the vital organs of their victims that will cause most damage.

"The blows are carefully targeted," says Dr Wilson, who is a member of the Scottish Association for Marine Science. "And the attacks are sustained, sometimes up to 30 minutes.

"The film was a key piece of evidence. It crystalised our suspicions. We realised the dolphins' victim was trying to escape from being attacked with such force that any one single blow could kill it.

"It was, Oh my God!, the animals I've been studying for the last 10 years are killing these porpoises."

Theories abound on the reason behind the mammal murders. These have included territorial clashes and feuds over food resources. But food is not in short supply and the victims are not just chased away but pursued to the death.

Another belief is that dolphin attacks on their young may be down to mating instincts, because when her calf dies the female dolphin is ready for mating again. But the experts are still not positive that it is only males who do the attacking.

And, incredibly, they can only guess that the attacks by bottle-nosed dolphins on Scotland's harbour porpoises is some kind of bizarre 'target practice.'

For the one common link between the attacks here and America is that the victims are of a similar size and weight.

Perhaps the dolphins' instincts has them practising the same skills required to separate a porpoise from its school, pursue it and kill it as are needed for attacks on its own kind.

Nearly half of the harbour porpoises' bodies examined have died as a result of the dolphin attacks.

Perhaps some answers will be found as Dr Wilson - who has written several research papers on dolphins - and his team continue their Bottlenose Dolphin Project throughout the Scottish waters this winter. The field work is expected to end in the summer.

But as the experts of the Cetacean Research and Rescue Unit are forced to declare: "These killings represent yet another example of the hard brutality and evolutionary pressures of the marine world."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cryptozoology; dolphins; flipper; inconvenienttruth; marinebiology; nature; porpoises
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Dolphins are evil.

It's a good thing they taste like tuna! : )

1 posted on 01/26/2008 11:58:33 AM PST by DogByte6RER
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To: DogByte6RER

I wonder if they ever found those attack dolphins that escape because of Katrina, ergo hoc, it’s Bush’s fault!


2 posted on 01/26/2008 12:00:09 PM PST by Perdogg (Elections have consequences)
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To: DogByte6RER

I knew giving them lasers wasn’t a good idea.


3 posted on 01/26/2008 12:00:28 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: DogByte6RER
It’s hard to visualise but the intelligent and ever-friendly dolphin can also be a determined killer.

Maybe hard to imagine in your PC, gay friendly, reality denying universe.

4 posted on 01/26/2008 12:02:34 PM PST by bill1952 (The right to buy weapons is the right to be free)
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To: DogByte6RER

kill the young of another male dolphin, the female goes back into heat and you can pass on your genetic material. sounds simple enough.


5 posted on 01/26/2008 12:03:07 PM PST by thefactor
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To: DogByte6RER

Come on now, we all know it is caused by global warming. Global warming causes the oceans to heat up, which in turn causes the dolphins to get uncomfortable and go crazy.


6 posted on 01/26/2008 12:03:33 PM PST by Stayingawayfromthedarkside
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To: DogByte6RER

They are so human-like aren’t they?


7 posted on 01/26/2008 12:04:02 PM PST by Blue State Insurgent (Thompson or no Party)
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To: Stayingawayfromthedarkside

Actually they were created by Halliburton, for Blackwater, to blow up oil rigs to drive the price of oil up, so that we could invade Iran for the oil.


8 posted on 01/26/2008 12:04:49 PM PST by Perdogg (Elections have consequences)
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To: DogByte6RER

There is a lot of talk about all the estrogen from birth control pills passing in urine and into the environment is causing havoc in wildlife.

Who knows.


9 posted on 01/26/2008 12:04:50 PM PST by diamond6 (Everyone who is for abortion has been born. Ronald Reagan)
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To: DogByte6RER

In other words, dolphins are more like people than we thought. All they need is a few tattoos or nose rings.


10 posted on 01/26/2008 12:05:34 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: thefactor

Yes. Don’t Lions do the same?


11 posted on 01/26/2008 12:05:56 PM PST by Blue State Insurgent (Thompson or no Party)
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To: DogByte6RER

The ones that beach themselves just can’t take the violence anymore and do it as a protest.


12 posted on 01/26/2008 12:07:58 PM PST by Defiant (Curse correctly: Instead of "goddammit" it's "Allah be damned".)
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To: DogByte6RER

Shoot, I thought it was about the football team and Parcells(tuna). Oh well.


13 posted on 01/26/2008 12:09:34 PM PST by aliquando (A Scout is T, L, H, F, C, K, O, C, T, B, C, and R.)
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To: Blue State Insurgent
absolutely. humans too.

read any of the step-dad/mommies new boyfriend threads around here? crass, i know, but true to a point.

14 posted on 01/26/2008 12:10:29 PM PST by thefactor
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To: thefactor

Except that, as stated in the article, it’s not only males that are doing the killing. Maybe it’s the alpha male’s sister helping out.


15 posted on 01/26/2008 12:10:59 PM PST by Defiant (Curse correctly: Instead of "goddammit" it's "Allah be damned".)
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To: DogByte6RER
"...gangs of dolphins..."

Societal failure.

16 posted on 01/26/2008 12:11:17 PM PST by verity ("Lord, what fools these mortals be!")
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To: DogByte6RER

Dolphins gone wild. What is this world coming to?


17 posted on 01/26/2008 12:11:28 PM PST by EverOnward
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To: DogByte6RER

Maybe their doing it out of self-hate over the performace of their namesake football team.


18 posted on 01/26/2008 12:13:07 PM PST by Callahan
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To: Perdogg

“I wonder if they ever found those attack dolphins that escape because of Katrina, ergo hoc, it’s Bush’s fault!”

The Navy trained a few attack Dolphins, they escaped back to the hood and started a gang.


19 posted on 01/26/2008 12:13:20 PM PST by dljordan
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To: Defiant

could be. or there could be something wrong with the pup and the rest do not want the competition for food. there are many possible reasons. reproduction and resources are usually the culprits.


20 posted on 01/26/2008 12:13:38 PM PST by thefactor
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To: DogByte6RER
but has left animal experts baffled as to the motive.

It is called natural selection and population control, at least this is the way I understand it!

21 posted on 01/26/2008 12:14:57 PM PST by danmar (Tomorrow's life is too late. Live today!)
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To: 1rudeboy
is it too much to ask for dolphins with freakin' laser beams on their heads???


22 posted on 01/26/2008 12:16:11 PM PST by thefactor
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To: DogByte6RER

I am certain that Karl Rove’s minions must be implanting electrodes into the brains of dolphins and releasing them into the sea to kill and kill again. This could only be a nefarious plot by right-wingers to smear the image of kindly, innocent dolphins.


23 posted on 01/26/2008 12:17:00 PM PST by Enchante (Patriots, 18-0 baby!!!!!!!!! Jon Cary is thrilled that QB Manny Ortiz led the Pats to victory!!!!)
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To: DogByte6RER

So dolphins are animals too. The leftist ecofreak community pushes fairy tales but reality is a harsh mistress.


24 posted on 01/26/2008 12:18:37 PM PST by Maelstorm ("Christ didnít tell us to go to the government...He told us to do it." Fred Thompson)
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To: DogByte6RER

Good thing there’s film.

These are the same people who’d denied Saddam could ever be a threat.


25 posted on 01/26/2008 12:19:28 PM PST by afortiori
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To: DogByte6RER
In the days when humans could murder and get away with it there were a lot more murders. The dolphins are doing what life does.. kill.

26 posted on 01/26/2008 12:21:43 PM PST by I see my hands (_8(|)
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To: DogByte6RER
"perhaps the worst example of inter-specific aggression any of us had ever seen. This young female had literally had the life beaten out of her."

Must have been a muslim dolphin that had dishonored her family.

27 posted on 01/26/2008 12:24:00 PM PST by theymakemesick (The war on drugs benefits government agencies, politicians and drug dealers, they don't want to win.)
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To: Blue State Insurgent; SunkenCiv

Baby birds often kill their baby brothers / sisters , too.


28 posted on 01/26/2008 12:29:02 PM PST by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: DogByte6RER

It’s simple: anarchy. No system of justice. Adopt the death penalty for these crimes and they will think twice.


29 posted on 01/26/2008 12:31:41 PM PST by Brilliant
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To: DogByte6RER
It's a good thing they taste like tuna! : )

The old joke: "I stopped eating tuna when they took the Dolphin out."

30 posted on 01/26/2008 12:32:33 PM PST by Sawdring
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To: Grampa Dave; BIGLOOK; marsh2; girlangler; Doohickey; SmithL; sukhoi-30mki; RightWhale; LucyT

The eco-nuts will be mad by this inconvenient truth :

’ In American cases, this was supposedly from exercises by the US Navy...”


31 posted on 01/26/2008 12:33:46 PM PST by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: DogByte6RER
Another belief is that dolphin attacks on their young may be down to mating instincts, because when her calf dies the female dolphin is ready for mating again. But the experts are still not positive that it is only males who do the attacking.

Well, this explanation would make the crunchies more comfortable.

32 posted on 01/26/2008 12:35:58 PM PST by ModelBreaker
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To: DogByte6RER
Porpoiseful attacks. Porpoise on porpoise crime.
33 posted on 01/26/2008 12:36:33 PM PST by Cheburashka (Liberalism: a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.)
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To: thefactor

34 posted on 01/26/2008 12:38:01 PM PST by Rome2000 (Peace is not an option)
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To: Rome2000

i’ve never wanted to be a pair of shorts so much in my life.


35 posted on 01/26/2008 12:40:58 PM PST by thefactor
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To: DogByte6RER

So long, and thanks for all the fish.


36 posted on 01/26/2008 12:43:55 PM PST by Rocky
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To: DogByte6RER
Anybody remember this Flipper, who knew?
37 posted on 01/26/2008 12:44:01 PM PST by clinkclink
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To: DogByte6RER
I bet they have always done this but now the marine experts are just seeing it or acknowledging it. We grow up being told how almost holy dolphins are and how great white sharks are just innocent little fuzzies who don’t mean to hurt people - they just get confused and think a swimmer is a seal. Remember when experts acknowledged what native peoples have always known, that chimps hunt and eat meat? Quel Horreur!
38 posted on 01/26/2008 12:45:08 PM PST by A knight without armor
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To: Enchante
Don't'cha know that the evil military is arming dolphins and training them to be assassins?


39 posted on 01/26/2008 12:45:51 PM PST by Emperor Palpatine ("There is no civility, only politics.")
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To: Stayingawayfromthedarkside

Sort of like Soutwest Asia. I mean the heat making everyone cranky, that is.


40 posted on 01/26/2008 12:46:54 PM PST by 31R1O ("Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life."- Immanuel Kant)
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To: DogByte6RER

Chimps have been running amok as well..


41 posted on 01/26/2008 12:47:58 PM PST by sheik yerbouty ( Make America and the world a jihad free zone!)
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To: DogByte6RER

42 posted on 01/26/2008 12:48:20 PM PST by ARE SOLE (Agents Ramos and Campean are in prison at this very moment.. (A "Concerned Citizen".)
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To: DogByte6RER
Annoy a Liberal...

Always ask for "Tuna-Free Dolphin" in your favorite store.

43 posted on 01/26/2008 12:50:15 PM PST by montag813
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To: DogByte6RER

Ruh-roh. Why is this coming out now? I suspect a VRWC hit on Greenpeace...:)

Seriously, I’ve known this about bottle-nose dolphins. They can do a lot of damage with their probiscis. They weigh around 500 pounds, have sharp teeth and strong jaws. They are wild animals.

Duh. It is exciting to see a pod of dolphins, watch them playing, breaching, etc. I suspect the violent behavior is in the minority and they would be more likely to attack other species. But, even the sweet little birdies of the world can be violent. That is nature.


44 posted on 01/26/2008 12:56:44 PM PST by La Enchiladita (I'm on the Mitt-Mobile!!!)
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To: DogByte6RER

The cause behind these attacks is without a doubt the usage of sonar by the US Navy. All military operations using sonar must be immediately halted.

Restoration payments must begin to GreenPeace and the California Aquatic Commision. Research shall begin to determine if any other aquatic mammals or fishes were harmed. A report shall be submitted to the UN Council on International Waterways within 180 days. Fines are authorized if this date is not met.


45 posted on 01/26/2008 12:56:52 PM PST by B4Ranch (( "Freedom is not free, but don't worry the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share." ))
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To: Rome2000

Don’t you dare poke that!


46 posted on 01/26/2008 12:57:43 PM PST by B4Ranch (( "Freedom is not free, but don't worry the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share." ))
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To: Rome2000

Now THAT’s a Dolfin I can get behind....

Regards,


47 posted on 01/26/2008 1:01:59 PM PST by Thunder 6
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To: DogByte6RER

No mystery. Since animals mimic human behavior, they too, have formed violent street gangs who kill for no logical reason. :)


48 posted on 01/26/2008 1:02:08 PM PST by Zack Attack
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To: DogByte6RER

In a related story, cuddly house cats cruelly toy with mice before butchering them for pleasure.


49 posted on 01/26/2008 1:08:03 PM PST by Greg F (Romney supported the right of homosexuals to be Scout Masters in 1994.)
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To: Vom Willemstad K-9

ping


50 posted on 01/26/2008 1:10:38 PM PST by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
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