In the days of exploration when we were discovering new lands for the first time, explorers were coming into contact with many new and amazing animals. Little was known about these animals and stories about them spread quickly, with people hanging onto every word of the travelers that recounted them. Some of these new animals were so wonderous and so alien to those animals that people already new, that they became the subject of fantastical legends involving magic and superstition. One such animal was the narwhal, and to early travelers it was an incredible find.
Nowadays, we have a lot more facts about the world around us, and such legends are few and far between. Despite that, the narwhal is still a fascinating creature to us and there is still a lot more to learn about them. Researchers from around the world regularly head toward the Arctic where the narwhal lives, to find out more about them and the other enchanting creatures that they share their homes with. We are learning new things about them all the time and, every time we do, they become even more captivating to us.
The narwhal is truly an incredible creature, and we have learned some truly fascinating facts about them.
Narwhal Whale Fact #10: Tusks are Really Teeth
The narwhal is perhaps best known for its unmistakable tusk that protrudes far from the front of its head. Tusks in many animals have evolved from what used to be teeth, albeit taking on very different characteristics over time. While it would not really be accurate to say that tusks are still teeth in a lot of animals, the same cannot be said for the narwhal. The narwhal’s tusk is nothing more than a tooth that has extended directly from its gums, from right next to its other normal sized teeth.
Their tusk is quite different from other teeth though. Usually, teeth have a soft center that is protected by a hard enamel protective layer. The narwhal, however, has it the other way around, with the hard part in the center surrounded by a soft fatty tissue. It is usually only the males that grow the tusk, although a small percentage of females grow them also.