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Scientists Strap Cameras On Hunting US Navy Dolphins And Captured Something Terrifying

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Scientists Strap Cameras On Hunting US Navy Dolphins And Captured Something Terrifying

The weirdest study ever published in 2022.

Off the coast of California, a team of researchers recently attached GoPro cameras to the bodies of six dolphins trained by the U.S. Navy and recorded them hunting and consuming their prey in detail. The study published in the Journal PLoS ONE was to learn more about how the mammals hunted and ate. 

It had always been assumed dolphins engaged in either ram feeding or suction feeding, which is why the study set out to determine which method they used. 

Scientists Strap Cameras On Hunting US Navy Dolphins And Captured Something Terrifying
via  Kelly Caminero / The Daily Beast / Getty

Ram feeding entails the predators swimming faster than their prey and clasping the fish in their jaws as they overtake them, while suction feeding is when predators move their tongues and expand their throats to establish a negative pressure and slurp up prey. “Sound and video together have never been used before to observe the behavior of dolphins,” the study said.

It added: “And of the live fish they capture and consume.”

Scientists Strap Cameras On Hunting US Navy Dolphins And Captured Something Terrifying
via Twitter

Of the result of the study, the angle of the cameras presented a view of the dolphin’s side eye that we’ve never before seen nor would care to see again. Up close, they don’t appear to be the idyllic Lisa Frank dolphins but rather terrifying, nightmare-inducing Roman dolphins craving the thrill of the chase. For the most part, it’s also found that the dolphins engaged in suction feeding, not ram feeding.

The study continued: “We were surprised by the ability of all of our dolphins to open their lower lips to suck in food.” 

Scientists Strap Cameras On Hunting US Navy Dolphins And Captured Something Terrifying
via Ridgway et al

Furthermore, the GoPros also captured dolphin-eating snakes, which had never been observed before. “It is notable that one day, dolphin Z preyed on eight yellow-bellied sea snakes. The dolphin clicked as it approached the snake and then sucked it in with a bit more head jerking as the flopping snake tail disappeared, and the dolphin made a long sequel.” 

The study named the Marine Mammal Program’s 330th peer-reviewed article detailed how it became apparent when the dolphins identify their next target.

Scientists Strap Cameras On Hunting US Navy Dolphins And Captured Something Terrifying
via Ridgway et al

“The animal picked up speed, as observed by an increase in the sound of the water as they whooshed through, and their heartbeats became audible in the recordings.” The study also explained what the GoPro footage of three dolphins hunting looked and sounded like: “Sequels continued as the dolphins seized, manipulated, and swallowed the prey.”

“If fish escaped, the dolphin continued the chase and sonar clicks were heard less often the continuous terminal buzz and sequel.”

Scientists Strap Cameras On Hunting US Navy Dolphins And Captured Something Terrifying
via Ridgway et al

“During captures, the dolphins’ lips flared to reveal nearly all of the teeth. The throat expanded outward. Fish continued to escape swimming even as they entered the dolphin’s mouth, yet the dolphin appeared to suck the fish right down.” However, the Marine Mammal Program had existed in some form since before 1960, when the Navy attempted to improve torpedo design by studying dolphins.

Since then to date, U.S. Navy has spent millions of dollars yearly to foster and train bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions. 

Scientists Strap Cameras On Hunting US Navy Dolphins And Captured Something Terrifying
via Ridgway et al

And according to the program’s website, these animals have an excellent low light vision and underwater directional hearing that allows them to detect and track undersea targets, even in dark or murky water, and unlike human divers, they don’t suffer from the bends. Sadly, the lead author of the research and a founder of the Marine Mammal Program, Sam Ridgway, passed away earlier this year. 

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Joseph Temitope Victoria, nicknamed ‘Temmie,’ is a GreenLemon Author and Content Creator. After her studies at Olabisi Onabanjo University, where she got a B.Sc. degree in Geography and Regional Planning, Temitope worked as Journalist with a specialization in Business and Economy. Temitope also holds an M.Sc. degree in Population and Manpower Planning, and interestingly she’s a self-taught poem writer. She owns a website ‘TemmiesAnthology’ and has spent nearly 6years writing on several niches. Whenever there’s free time, she spends it editing books – one of her newest is ‘In His Green Book’ by Terence A. Asitibasi. Temitope can certainly do whatever she sets her mind on.

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