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Navy dolphins losing out to robots

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — Dolphins used by the Navy to track down mines will soon lose their jobs to robots.

UT San Diego reports some military-trained dolphins will be replaced starting in 2017 by a 12-foot unmanned torpedo-shaped vehicle.

The military says the machines can do some of the same mine-hunting duties. And they can be manufactured quickly, unlike the seven years it takes to train a dolphin.

The dolphins won't be relieved of duty. They will still be used for port security and retrieving objects from the sea floor.

The Navy's $28 million marine mammal program dates back to the late 1950s. It uses 80 bottle-nosed dolphins and 40 California sea lions.

Dolphins have been deployed to Iraq and Bahrain to keep ports safe for American ships.

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Information from: U-T San Diego, http://www.utsandiego.com

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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