Narwhal Tusks

In this BBC Earth article by Leslie Ogden, dentist and narwhal enthusiast Martin Nweeia explores some myths and facts about Narwhals. Among common misconceptions are the rumors that narwhals spear their food with their tusk-horns, that they are aggressive toward prey and people, and that they use their large horns to fight each other. In fact, according to this BBC article, many people think that narwhals are mythical creatures that do not even exist. None of these are true. Narwhals exist, they are very shy, and they eat small prey that would be very hard to spear with their tusks, let alone to remove for consumption. Nweeia has spent 10 years studying narwhals out of curiosity about their tusks. It is still unclear what the exact purpose of the narwhal horn is, although researchers speculate heavily that, since the horns are largely found on male narwhals, they are used to attract mates. Studies have also found that the horns, fleshy on the outside and hard on the inside, could be used as a sort of perceptive organ to get a feel for the waters the narwhal is traveling into.