Rare Footage Helps Explain What Narwhals Use Their Tusks For

Please see the complete, original care2 article by Alicia Graef at the link below.

Scientists are marveling over never-before-seen footage of narwhals that has brought to light new evidence for what those unicorn-like tusks are actually used for. Narwhals are toothed whales who live in the Arctic waters of Canada, Greenland, Norway, and Russia, but they don’t actually have any teeth in their mouth. Instead, the males grow a long straight tooth, or tusk, that spirals out of their upper left jaw that can grow as long as nine feet.

This long, spiraled tusk is a unique feature that has gotten them dubbed ‘unicorns of the sea,’ but there’s been a lot of speculation about what they’re for and how they’re used. Now, newly released drone footage taken in Tremblay Sound in northeastern Canada has offered some new insight. The footage captured narwhals using their tusks to tap and stun Arctic cod before eating them, and is the first recorded evidence that they use their tusks to hunt. “Documenting such novel behavior of a complex and difficult to study species that inhabits such a challenging environment is absolutely incredible. These data prove the value of direct observation to understand animal behavior and ecology, but also highlight the important role of technology in modern […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *