In ocean off the coast of Coronado, CA, a Navy team of bottlenose dolphins discovered an extremely rare torpedo that dates back to the 19th century.
The so-called Howell torpedo was spotted by a dolphin named Spetz during a routine training mission last month. Navy divers and explosive-ordnance experts were summoned to examine the submerged object – which was deemed inert and later shipped off to the Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard.
Only 50 Howell torpedoes were made between 1870 and 1889. Meant to be launched from above water or submerged tubes, the then state-of-the-art technology was made entirely of brass. At 11 feet long, driven by a 132-pound flywheel spun to 10,000 rpm before launch, the water-borne weapon had a range of 400 yards with a speed of 25 knots.