This Never-Before-Seen Footage Reveals
The Violent Purpose of The Narwhal’s Tusk
We’ve cracked the secret of the unicorn whales.
Drone footage has captured something no one’s ever seen before – wild narwhalsusing their bizarre tusks to hunt Arctic cod by hitting and stunning them, making them easier to consume.
The behaviour addresses a biological mystery that’s spanned decades – why these rare and elusive whales have evolved an extra-long left canine tooth that bursts through the upper lip and protrudes from the head like the horn of a unicorn.
The footage was captured by two drones in Tremblay Sound, Nunavat, in northeastern Canada, which were operated by Adam Ravetch from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada and researchers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
“This is an entirely new observation of how the tusk is used,” Brandon Laforest, a senior specialist of Arctic species and ecosystems with WWF-Canada, told National Geographic.
The mystery of these ‘horns’ – which can grow up to 2.7 metres (9 feet) long – has led scientists to pose a number of possible functions, including signals of testicle size, navigation, and territorial battles.
But there’s been one obvious gap in the evidence – these things look a whole lot like weapons, so are they using them to hunt too?