One day, Dolphin 🐬 asked Narwhal, “why do you have a beautiful horn on your head?”
Narwhal’s Unicorn Horn 🦄 🦄 🦄 🦄 🦄 🦄 🦄 🦄 🦄 🦄 🦄 🦄 🦄 🦄 🦄 🦄 🦄 🦄
About a narwhal’s horn: The horn on a narwhal’s head is actually a long tooth that helps it hunt (the horn can be ten feet long!) Known as “the unicorns of the sea,” narwhals are unique for the solitary tusk that protrudes through the tops of their heads. The horn is actually a canine front tooth that can reach as long as nine feet!Research has pinpointed many possibilities, suggesting the tusk is used as a sensory organ, helping the narwhal pick up changes in its environment. Males of the species may even use the horns to look for food or find mates. Firstly, the narwhal’s tusk is actually an overgrown spiralized tooth and it’s one of only two teeth they’ll ever possess. In fact, if you were lucky enough spot a narwhal in the wild you may not even recognize it as a narwhal at all, since many of them lose their tusks over time (hence its mysterious and elusive reputation!). And while there are a few other animals that have similarly protruding teeth (like walruses and elephants), the narwhal tusk is unique still. Essentially, it’s an inside out tooth. The narwhal tusk is incredibly sensitive on the outside, with up to ten million nerve endings on each one. In 2014, researchers even found significant changes in heart rate when alternating solutions of high-salt and fresh water were exposed to the external surface of the tusk. I imagine this as similar to that feeling you get with really cold ice cream on a sensitive spot on your tooth—you know—but way worse. How in the world does the narwhal survive with such a thing in the frigid Arctic waters?