After hundreds years of secrecy, the unsolved problem of the narwhal tusks has been discovered and now we understand how "the unicorn of the sea" utilizes its most characteristic attribute.
Narwhal tusks have quite some time puzzled marine biologists, who've speculated about what this stand-out component may do. Some believed that it assisted echolocation, or to break through ice, or to combat peers for mates.
Recently, drone footage of a narwhal in action, was made public and finally uncovers the tusk's (in reality a tooth that can attain a length of nine feet) actual objective.
The film — captured by the World Wildlife Fund in Tremblay Sound close to Nunavut, Canada — demonstrates a narwhal utilizing its tusk to shock its victim before gulping it down its throat. Indeed, at last, the narwhal's tusk is intended for the somewhat obvious function of incapacitating fish whilst foraging.
As obvious as that it may appear to be now, researchers were in fact confused, or possibly unsure, for a long time.
“Previously we thought that narwhals used their tusks to joust with rivals and help them mate, or even a device for echolocation,” WWF’s Rod Downie said, “but this new footage shows a behaviour that has never been seen before.”
Furthermore, for what reason were researchers inaccurate, or unknowing, for such a long time? As Downie stated:
“The narwhal is one of the least studied animals because it is so hard to get to the Arctic areas where it lives. So drones are helping us study its behaviour.”
Moreover, these animals may turn out to be considerably harder to observe, given now that there are just 110,000 of these mammals left in the wild and that their Arctic living spaces are just getting hotter and hotter.
Therefore, the WWF trusts that this video and more similar drone footage will enable researchers to identify how the narwhal are adjusting to global warming and how people may help out.
“As the Arctic warms and development pressure increases, it will be important to understand how narwhal are using their habitat during their annual migration,” WWF-Canada President David Miller mentioned. “With this information in hand, we can work to minimize the effects of human activities on narwhal.”