These Mysterious Sea Unicorns Have Tusks That Can Do Powerful Things
Ever since their discovery, Narwhals have remained a mystery to most people. There has been speculation on the purpose of their horn.
Challenging a rival, picking through ice, or an antenna for echolocation are just some of the hypotheses that have been put forth.
These things, of course, had no evidence to support any of those claims. Until recently, no behavior involving their horn had ever been recorded. Recent drone footage has shown Narwhals using their tusks to stun their prey, the Alaskan Cod.
The belief is that all Narwhals have a ‘tusk,’ but the truth is that it is a feature unique to the male of the species. During the winter, males may dive to depths of 4,920ft, an activity that sometimes lasts 25 minutes.
The ‘tusk’ of a Narwhal is actually a tooth that has thousands of nerves inside of it. Not only can it feel the slightest of movements around itself, but they can also grow up to nine feet.
The same footage that caught sight of how they use their horn was also useful in determining where the Narwhal were feeding and which places to protect from outside interference.
In the wild, there are only about 110,000 Narwhal still left. With the added stress of the arctic ice melting, there is concern about the safety and consistency of the creatures’ feeding grounds. Scientists are also looking to observe how the Narwhal behave in their habitat with the warming temperatures.
With the Narwhal’s current conservation status at ‘Nearly Threatened,’ is it important that people take steps to help improve the environment in which they live. And with people still hunting the creatures for meat and ivory, rallying people to the cause of preserving their life will prove difficult.
Feel free to donate to the conservation efforts of the Narwhals. They need all the help they can get from us.