Narwhal, also called “unicorn of the sea,” have been the subject of discussions and studies for ages. Be it the functionality of its tusk or the legends and stories attached to it, this aquatic creature exists shrouded in a layer of mystery.
The Legends of Narwhal
Various communities have folklore surrounding the narwhal. The tales usually focus on the tusk of the animal.
According to the Inuit, who are the indigenous people of the Arctic, this marine animal is a cruel woman. The story is about a young man who went to the shoreline with a harpoon. He was accompanied by his sister. Watching hime leaving for the shoreline with a harpoon in his hand, his mother followed them. His mother was a cruel and vicious woman.
The son asked his mother to tie the end of the harpoon rope around her waist. She asked her son to aim at small creatures but the son wanted a whale instead. His mother was pulled into the water and as she drowned, she spiraled around the rope.
In the depths of the ocean, she became a narwhal, and the tusk of the narwhal is believed to be formed of the braided hair of the lady.
There are various versions of the legends depicted by multiple explorers and anthropologists. They are interconnected and describe similarities. But, still, every story has something different to tell.
More About The Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea
Narwhal belong to the whale family. The name narwhal actually means “corpse whale.” The name is based on a reference to the pale color of narwhal’s skin. The back of the narwhal is dark grey while the lower flanks are shades of light grey.
A fully grown narwhal can reach from 11 to 17 feet in length. The males weigh up to 3,500 pounds while the females weigh up to 2,200 pounds. Though they are huge, they are very peaceful creatures.
The most exciting feature of this sea creature is its tusk. Male narwhals have a distinctive 9-foot long tusk. The tusk projects out from its mouth. It features left-handed spiraling groove throughout its length. The tusk is technically an elongated tooth.
The functionality of the tusk is still a mystery. No one knows its exact purpose. Some research suggests that the tusk contains nerves and may act as a sensory organ. Narwhals may use their tusk to gather information about the weather, for instance. While they have been observed fighting enemies with their tusks, they don’t use them for hunting prey.