3 Neat Facts About Narwhals (Including: They're Real!) | Summary and Q&A

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October 29, 2013
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3 Neat Facts About Narwhals (Including: They're Real!)

TL;DR

Narwhals are real and fascinating creatures with unique features, such as a spiraling horn-like tooth. They are highly dependent on Arctic ice and are facing vulnerability due to climate change.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why are narwhals so difficult to study?

Narwhals cannot survive in captivity, which is why they have been challenging to study. Unlike Beluga whales and dolphins, they die within a couple of months when contained in tanks.

Q: What is the significance of narwhals' blubber content?

Narwhals have about 50% blubber due to living in cold water. Inuit hunters prize their blubber and skin called mattak, claiming it tastes like hazelnuts.

Q: What is the purpose of the narwhal's tusk?

The tusk is actually a tooth, and recent discoveries reveal it to be an extraordinary sensory organ. It is filled with supersensitive nerve endings that can detect changes in pressure, temperature, and other factors.

Q: How do narwhals navigate through Arctic ice flows?

Narwhals follow their prey through narrow channels between ice flows. The tusk's sensory capabilities help them detect if the ice is about to freeze and potentially trap them.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Narwhals, often referred to as "Corpse Whales," are real and related to Beluga whales. They are found in Arctic waters and are known for their elusive nature.

  • They cannot be held in captivity, unlike other whales, making their study difficult. They have a high percentage of blubber to survive the cold water.

  • Their distinctive feature is a long, spiraling tusk, which is actually a tooth. Recent discoveries indicate that the tusk serves as a sensory organ, detecting changes in pressure, temperature, and more.

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