Thursday, April 16, 2009

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

(Photo Courtesy Xinhua News Agency.)

Something that continues to strike me as remarkable about nature is its knack for perfect timing. Frankly, Mother Earth simply knows better. Just when we humans think we’ve got things under control – Kyoto-ized, carbon taxed and plastic bag free, nature throws a punch and reminds us who’s the boss. We are not the boss and dare I say, neither are the pirates. In fact, dolphins are this week’s winners.

Recently, pirates have found themselves on international media radar. The big story broke last week when Somali pirates kidnapped a U-S Cargo captain. Three pirates were killed during the Navy’s rescue operation. Even President Barack Obama has pirates on his mind as he’s vowed to “halt the rise of piracy.”

The Xinhua News Agency reports a school of dolphins appeared at just the right moment to stop a group of Somali pirates from taking a Chinese cargo ship last week by swimming in between the two vessels and effectively blocking the pirate’s access to their "booty." It should be noted that the Xinhua reported the dolphin intervention as fact: that it was the marine mammals complete intention to prevent the pirates from pillaging.

This dolphin behavior should come as no surprise to the U-S military say, circa 1989, when the United States Navy sunk $30 million dollars into training dolphins to guard a nuclear submarine base (dolphins and sea lions, actually.) The project took a turn however when, as outlined in the Navy’s report, the dolphins began refusing orders. Clearly, the dolphins knew better.

Based on the evidence, I think it’s safe to say that if our planet ever does find itself scheduled for demolition to make way for a hyper spatial express route, dolphins will, in fact, jump ship and leave earth.

Did those dolphins intentionally prevent pirates from capturing that cargo vessel? I doubt it. It’s more likely the school of fish they were following happened to be passing that way. But it’s a nice thought: dolphins acting as an alarm system for a group of sailors working a cargo ship, minding their own business. It makes you wonder how may more “alarm systems” nature sends our way. Do we notice them?



Theodora Lamb said...

And for a little more fun reading on the subject...

John Horn said...

Amazing! Everything about this post is just plain great. From the accurate and interesting description of pirates to the research about American Military misadventures with Dolphin marine navies. Hilarious.

This kind of stuff is truly edutainment at its best. Theo Lamb, I'm inspired.

Thanks for this.


Mike Boronowski said...

Oh and the Adams reference, it all fits together perfectly.

On the pirate front,K'naan - a great Somali-Canadian performer/activist has an interesting article over at the Huffington Post ->

Kurt Heinrich said...

Who would win in a fight?

A school of Dophins or three hardcore Steven Seagualish Navy Seals?

Answers with reasoning attached get extra marks...