The narwhal is famous for the long ivory tusk that spirals up to 9 feet forward from its face.
Research supported by WWF has revealed some amazing things – like millions of nerve endings in the tusk that suggest it’s a sophisticated sensor. Now new research shows narwhals appearing to use their tusks for a purpose never before documented.
For the past few summers, scientists have traveled to the remote reaches of the Canadian Arctic to track narwhals, the mysterious unicorns of the sea.
Found only in high Arctic waters, the narwhal isn’t easy to study. The researchers set up camp on the rocky shore, set a net in the water, and settle in for a long, cold wait.
The Arctic summer sun barely sets on the camp, and scientists work in shifts to spot narwhals in the net. Floats on the net bob and the watcher shouts – whale in the net! Quickly, the researchers suit up and leap into the boat.
Uncovering the tooth
Technological advances in the field allow researchers to reduce stress to the animals they study. Thanks to drone photography, the researchers captured a surprising behavior for the first time.
In this amazing video, a male narwhal appears to use his tusk to hit and stun fish.