Dolphins Found to Use Weapon: the Sea Snake
Enlarge ImageAugust 14, 2006 1:42 PM
Dolphins attacking a school of fish with the aid of sea snakes
HAWAII—Dolphins have long been regarded as one of the most intelligent of animal species, due to their ability to extensively interact with humans and their great capacity for learning. Scientists in Hawaii have recently observed pods of dolphins hunting with the aid of sea snakes. The animals grasp the poisonous snakes firmly in their jaws, and rely on the instinctive and swift bite of the sea snake to poison and cripple fish.
Once filled with the snake's deadly toxin, the fish are quickly collected by "harvester" dolphins that accompany the weapon using "hunter" dolphins.
While many different species of animals have been found to employ tools, only a handful have ever been observed using weaponry for the specific purpose of hunting and killing other animals.
"This greatly increases the level of intelligence we believe dolphins possess. They are perhaps the equivalent of a human being on the borderline of retardation, having an IQ of about 70," said Dr. Lunya Shadid, a dolphin researcher in Honolulu. "It's one of the few animals that ranks anywhere near the intelligence level of humans."
When asked whether or not dolphins pose a significant threat to human beings, Dr. Shadid angrily responded with, "No," and stormed out of the press conference.
Fellow researcher Amina Hafez continued the press conference by lecturing on the feeding patterns and social behavior of dolphins.
"Upon learning of this discovery in dolphins, we have secured funding from the U.S. government to develop techniques of deploying nuclear warheads using pods of dolphins," said Hafez. "This is just one step in a long term relationship between humans and dolphins."