explanatory Essay
1013 words
1013 words



Narwhals, the unicorns of the sea, are very mysterious creatures that are not widely known. They are whales with many fascinating features and historical value. This research paper is answering the question, “What are Narwhals?”.

General Description

Monodon Monoceros, Latin for “one tooth, one horn”#; or Narhval, Norwegian for “corpse whale” , because of it mottled coloration suggests a bloated corpse#.Narwhals are in the white whale family, along with the beluga, but are actually covered with spots of black, white, gray-green, and cream. Newborns are dappled gray-brown, white spots come with age#. At birth the calves are about 5 feet long and 180 pounds. Male Narwhals can reach 16 feet long, not including the horn which is 8 to 9 feet long, and weigh around 3000 pounds. Females are around 13 ft. long, do not have tusks, and weight around 2000 pounds. Adult males and females are usually dark in the area of the head, especially top of the head and upper and lower jaws#. Unlike most other whales, Narwhals have no dorsal fin, instead they have a low bumpy ridge that begins at about the midpoint of the back and continues to the fluke#.


The tusks, giving Narwhals the name “ Sea Unicorn”, is actually a tooth that can reach up to nine feet long and can weigh up to 20 pounds. Males and females are born with two teeth pointing forward in the upper jaw#. The left tooth of the male grows long and spirals counter clockwise toward the tip. On rare occasions there have been Narwhals with twin tusks. Research on Narwhals supports the idea that the tusk is both a weapon and a symbol of dominance in ritual displays#. Some other ideas about what the tusk is used for include the following: ice breaker or and instrument to poke breathing holes in ice#; rake to stir up the sea bottom for food#; skewer to impale prey species#. One hundred out of three hundred and four males tusks are broken, this might be a result of fighting#. Narwhal tusk can heal itself. Newman, a whale expert, suggests,“If the tusk breaks, it is possible that infection is avoided because of dentine deposits which fill the broken end. This reparative function could explain descriptions by old whalers of Narwhals with broken tusks exhibiting a ‘plug’ in the broken end”# .Tusks sold for $1.25 a pound in 1962, in 1974 it went up to $25 a pound, and in 1976 it was $35#.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains narwhals, the unicorns of the sea, are mysterious creatures with many fascinating features and historical value.
  • Explains that the tusk, giving narwhals the name " sea unicorn", is actually a tooth that can reach up to nine feet long and can weigh 20 pounds.
  • Explains that narwhals are migratory whales of the arctic sea. they inhabit bays and inlets in the warmer months, moving south into deeper water when the ice begins to form.
  • Explains that narwhals can defend themselves with their tusks from killer whales, greenland shark, cyamus monodontis and humans.
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