- Narwhals have adapted to become one of the marine mammals that are able to dive the deepest.
- They have a big significance in the culture of the indigenous communities in the Arctic.
- Their tusk is extremely sensitive and contains over 10 million nerve endings.
Welcome to the Narwhal Quiz, where you can test your knowledge and learn more about one of the most mystical mammals! Narwhals are known for their long tusk that protrudes from the top of their head which is why they are often called the unicorn of the sea. This cousin of the whale doesn’t migrate but tends to remain in the Artic and many may spend the winter under the sea ice.
Take the quiz to test your knowledge of Narwhals if you believe you know everything there is to know about them or if you simply want to learn more about these fascinating animals!
History Of The Species
Narwhals have been depicted in many historical, cultural and literary representations for many years. From books, the 1879 novel Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under The Sea where Jules Verne referenced the unicorn of the sea, and the 1851 novel Moby Dick where Herman Melville referenced narwhal tusks, to cultural, where in medieval Europe it was believed that the narwhal tusks for horns from the unicorn and that they carried magical powers that could cure disease and neutralize poison. But just where did this mythical creature come from?
This ancient mammal evolved during the Pliocene era, roughly 2.5 to 5.3 million years ago. They diverged from another group of whales, Delphinoides, around 11 million years ago and may have originally lived in warmer waters but due to the changing ecological system during the Pliocene, migrated to the Arctic. Like all cetaceans, they are a descendant of land mammals that changed in the evolutionary process.
Interesting Facts About Narwhals
The name Narwhal comes from Norsemen who named it for the blotchy color of their skin, which they thought resembled the gray pallor of a drowned man. This name translates to “whale corpse” which some believe sealed this unicorn of the sea’s fate. Read on to discover more interesting facts!
- They change color as they age. Babies are born blue-gray, juveniles are blue-black and adults are the traditional mottled gray we see. When they are old, they are almost all white.
- The distinctive tusk is only found on the male species.
- Contrary to what many believe, they don’t use their tusks to duel.
- This tusk is extremely sensitive, made up of 10 million nerve endings and living pulp, and it is thought of as an inside-out tooth.
- They have no teeth in their mouth.
- Some males can have two tusks.
Narwhals have appeared in books for many years but they also appear in movies! Check out these movies and TV shows where you can see the mystical narwhal:
- Mr. Narwhal in the movie Elf
- Not Quite Narwhal – you can follow Kelp, who believes he’s a narwhal but is actually a unicorn
- The Documentary The Narwhal’s Wake