The Puzzling Narwhal Tusk

A creature lives in Arctic waters, and much of the time in darkness. It is the stuff of legends. The horn growing out of its head adds to the mystery. It is the narwhal whale. One scientific puzzler is the fact that it can mate with beluga whales.

There is no actual horn, but the narwhal is sometimes called the unicorn of the sea. Actually, that is a tusk growing through its lip — and keeps growing to impressive lengths. Is the tusk of Biggus Toothus a fluke of nature, or does it serve a purpose?

The narwhal is a whale that lives in the Arctic. It has been called the unicorn of the sea, but that is not a horn, but a tusk that has several uses.
Narwhal, Flickr / Jessica Simpson (CC BY 2.0)
Narwhals are difficult to study.

The tusk sticks out straight instead of curving like the tusks on other critters, and as a bonus, it spirals. Sometimes it appears that narwhals use those tusks for play or to wave, "Howdy, neighbor!" They have been seen whacking fish with the tusks, stunning them before eating them. There are other functions being studied. One of those is that it senses water conditions.

How the narwhal got its tusk is unanswered by evolutionists, but creationists allow that it is something that developed relatively recently. This would be a result of the genetic diversity that was programmed by the Creator.
Like the horned white horses of ancient lore, narwhals, called the unicorns of the sea, are mythical—or at least nearly so. In remote areas around the Canadian Arctic and Greenland, these elusive whales dwell in an ice-covered region cloaked in darkness for half the year.

Most people recognize narwhals by their famous long tusk. But when asked to explain the tusk’s purpose, most people don’t have a clue. Even scientists aren’t fully sure. But such a prominent feature—a 9-foot (2.7 m) tooth—doesn’t arise by chance and keep getting passed down as a defining family feature unless there’s a reason. We just don’t know what it is yet.

To sea the rest of the article or listen to the audio by my favorite reader, swim on over to "Narwhal—Unicorn of the Sea."