The narwhal’s essence: “The one who can bend well into the sky”


There are some species who can easily forget to have teeth, so it’s like seeing a different animal every time they flash their smile.

Dogs, all sorts of cats, sharks and crocodiles are not among them. In my view, goats, rabbits, fish and geese live toothless lives. Narwhals, except for their tusks, are among the truly toothless ones.

In their faces, as we perceive them, there are no teeth that are formed into a permanently sweet smile.

But the males have a long, unicorn-like protrusion that protrudes from what could be considered the upper lip, slightly off-center.

Like ornaments to be hung on a Christmas tree, I find them very festive.

It could be their wintry, hedgehog-like tusk.

“I’m trying to forget that this tusk is a tooth. The essence of the Norwegian lemming: “bloodthirsty, hairy berserkers” | Helen SullivanContinue reading Ishmael defines the narwhal in Moby-Dick as: “a very picturesque, leopard-like shape, of milk-white ground color, dotted with round and oblong black spots.” Martin Nweeia, a Harvard dentist, told the Smithsonian, where he is a member of the vertebrate zoology department, “It’s impressive to think that this animal decided to put all of its tooth-producing energy into a thing [a tusk]that sticks out nine feet into the ocean,” “With the amount of energy it takes to produce that one tusk, it could easily have 30 to 40 teeth in its mouth doing other things.” “Tooth-producing energy”; the thought of teeth “doing other things.”

Nweeia created a new hypothesis in 2014: the tooth is sensitive, a little like our teeth when we drink ice water. That’s all a lot to chew on.

But it seems to be intended to expose the narwhal’s tusk to water, rather than shield it, because of its spiral form. Nweeia claims that the tusks can feel the water’s salinity, which lets them tell whether icebergs melt and thin or shape the sea, making it saltier. As narwhals sometimes point their tusks up and out of the water, the Inuit term for narwhals translates to “the one who is good at curving up toward the sky” (the word “narwhal” comes from the Old Norse nár, meaning corpse, because they lie very still often, the verb for this is “to log”). They dive to depths of more than a kilometer when they’re not pointing their faces skyward or lounging. The secret, sonorous life of narwhals – podcastContinue readingIn Moby-Dick, Herman Melville also wrote that the Danish king’s throne was made of narwhal tusks, which is real. Three life-size silver lions, each weighing 130 kilograms, guard the throne chair, as it is called. In England, there is a narwhal tusk in William the Conqueror’s castle at Warwick, which is said to be the rib of the Dun cow, the most legendary British creature ever. It is a very large cow that roams the moors and once belonged to a giant. “The great thing about the narwhal’s teeth is that nothing makes sense,”

But the Vikings assumed that whatever the intention of the narwhal’s tusks, sadness could be cured. How do you not approve when you think of those porpoises happily extending their tails and tusks into the sky? The Essence of…”The Nature of …”

Is there a fascinating creature or an especially vibrant plant that you think our readers will be excited by? Let us know @helenrsullivan on Twitter or by email: [email protected]


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