It's been common knowledge that Narwhals are my favorite mythical creature. Ask Artificer.
Well, today, in search of my old narwhal display pic, I found out that they were real. Even National Geographic says they are real. I'm a little bit disappointed...
A flock of narwhals.
"The narwhal (Monodon monoceros) is medium-sized toothed whale that lives year-round in the Arctic. The males of the species have a characteristic long tusk extending from their upper jaw. Seldom found south of latitude 70°N, the narwhal is one of two species of white whale in the Monodontidae family, along with the Beluga whale.
Male narwhals weigh up to 1,600 kg (3,500 lb), and the females weigh around 1,000 kg (2,200 lb). The pigmentation of the narwhal is a mottled black and white pattern. They are darkest when born and become more white in color with age.
The most conspicuous characteristic of the male narwhal is its single 2-3 m (7-10 ft) long tusk. It is an incisor tooth that projects from the left side of the upper jaw and forms a left-handed helix. The tusk can be up to three metres (nearly 10 ft) long (compared with a body length of 4-6 m [13-16 ft]) and weigh up to 10 kg (22 lbs). About one in 500 males has two tusks, which occurs when the right incisor, normally small, also grows out. A female narwhal may also produce a tusk, but this occurs rarely, and there is a single recorded case of a female with dual tusks.
Several explanations have been proposed for the purpose of the narwhal's tusk. The most broadly accepted theory that the tusk is a secondary sexual characteristic, similar to the mane of a lion or the tail feathers of a peacock. This hypothesis was notably discussed and defended at length by Charles Darwin, in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871) . It may help determine social rank, maintain dominance hierarchies or help young males develop skills necessary for performance in adult sexual roles. Narwhals have rarely been observed using their tusk for fighting or other aggressive behavior or for breaking sea ice in their Arctic habitat. Other hypothesized uses include courting females and defense. Other hypotheses have included the suggestion that the tusk may in fact be a sensory organ."
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