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Encyclopedia > Narwhal
Narwhal

Size comparison against an average human
Size comparison against an average human
Conservation status
Data deficient (IUCN)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Family: Monodontidae
Genus: Monodon
Species: M. monoceros
Binomial name
Monodon monoceros
Linnaeus, 1758
Narwhal range (in blue)
Narwhal range (in blue)

The Narwhal (Monodon monoceros) is an Arctic species of cetacean. It is a creature rarely found south of latitude 70°N. It is one of two species of white whale in the Monodontidae family (the other is the beluga whale). It is possibly also related to the Irrawaddy dolphin. narwhal public domain NOAA File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... The conservation status of a species is an indicator of the likelihood of that species continuing to survive either in the present day or the future. ... The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (also known as the IUCN Red List and Red Data List), created in 1963, is the worlds most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species and can be found here. ... For other uses, see Scientific classification (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Animal (disambiguation). ... Typical Classes See below Chordates (phylum Chordata) are a group of animals that includes the vertebrates, together with several closely related invertebrates. ... Subclasses & Infraclasses Subclass †Allotheria* Subclass Prototheria Subclass Theria Infraclass †Trituberculata Infraclass Metatheria Infraclass Eutheria Mammals (class Mammalia) are warm-blooded, vertebrate animals characterized by the presence of sweat glands, including those that produce milk, and by the presence of: hair, three middle ear bones used in hearing, and a neocortex... Suborders Mysticeti Odontoceti Archaeoceti (extinct) (see text for families) The order Cetacea (IPA: , L. cetus, whale) includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. ... Genera Delphinapterus Monodon The cetacean family Monodontidae comprises two unusual whale species, the Narwhal, in which the male has a long tusk, and the white Beluga. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Carl Linnaeus, Latinized as Carolus Linnaeus, also known after his ennoblement as  , (May 23, 1707[1] – January 10, 1778), was a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist[2] who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of nomenclature. ... Year 1758 (MDCCLVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 11-day slower Julian calendar). ... Download high resolution version (1357x628, 34 KB) , User:Pcb21 after User:Vardion, See Wikipedia:WikiProject Cetaceans File links The following pages link to this file: Narwhal Categories: GFDL images | NowCommons ... The red line indicates the 10°C isotherm in July, commonly used to define the Arctic region border Satellite image of the Arctic surface The Arctic is the region around the Earths North Pole, opposite the Antarctic region around the South Pole. ... Suborders Mysticeti Odontoceti (see text) The order Cetacea includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. ... This article is about the geographical term. ... The term White Whale has several meanings. ... Genera Delphinapterus Monodon The cetacean family Monodontidae comprises two unusual whale species, the Narwhal, in which the male has a long tusk, and the white Beluga. ... The hierarchy of scientific classification In biological classification, family (Latin: familia, plural familiae) is a rank, or a taxon in that rank. ... This article refers to the whale, beluga. ... Binomial name Orcaella brevirostris Gray, 1866 Irrawaddy Dolphin range The Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) is a species of dolphin found near coasts and in estuaries in parts of south-east Asia. ...

Contents

Taxonomy

The Narwhal was one of the many species originally described by Linnaeus in his 18th century work, Systema Naturae.[1] The English name narwhal is derived from the Dutch name narwal which in turn comes from the Danish narhval which is based on the Old Norse word nár, meaning "corpse." This is a reference to the animal's colour. The narwhal is also commonly known as the Moon Whale. In some parts of the world, the Narwhal is colloquially referred to as a "reamfish." In Inuit language the narwhal is named Tuugaalik. Carl Linnaeus, Latinized as Carolus Linnaeus, also known after his ennoblement as  , (May 23, 1707[1] – January 10, 1778), was a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist[2] who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of nomenclature. ... Cover of the tenth edition of Linnaeuss Systema Naturae (1758). ... Old Norse or Danish tongue is the Germanic language once spoken by the inhabitants of the Nordic countries (for instance during the Viking Age). ... For other uses, see Inuit (disambiguation). ...


Description

A skull of a narwhal with double tusks. Double tusks are a rare trait in narwhals. (Zoologisches Museum in Hamburg)
A skull of a narwhal with double tusks. Double tusks are a rare trait in narwhals. (Zoologisches Museum in Hamburg)

The most conspicuous characteristic of male narwhal is their single extraordinarily long tusk, an incisor that projects from the left side of the upper jaw and forms a left-handed helix. The tusk can be up to 3 metres (nearly 10 ft) long (compared with a body length of 7–8 m [23–26 ft]) and weigh up to 10 kilograms (22 lbs). About one in 500 males has two tusks, which occurs when the right tooth, normally small, also grows out. Although rare, a female narwhal may also produce a tusk. There is a single recorded case of a female with two tusks.[2] Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (450x1937, 83 KB) Narwhal (Monodon monoceros) tusks german description: Narwalschädel mit zwei Stoßzähnen im Zoologischen Museum in Hamburg, fotografiert im September 2004 von Sönke Behrends. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (450x1937, 83 KB) Narwhal (Monodon monoceros) tusks german description: Narwalschädel mit zwei Stoßzähnen im Zoologischen Museum in Hamburg, fotografiert im September 2004 von Sönke Behrends. ... Pacific Walrus at Cape Peirce A tusk is an extremely long tooth of certain mammals that protrudes when the mouth is closed. ... Incisors are the first kind of tooth in heterodont mammals. ... A helix (pl: helices), from the Greek word έλικας/έλιξ, is a twisted shape like a spring, screw or a spiral (correctly termed helical) staircase. ... This article is about the unit of length. ... This article is about a foot as a unit of length. ... “Kg” redirects here. ... The pound (abbreviations: lb or, sometimes in the United States, #) is a unit of weight in a number of different systems, including various systems of units of weight that formed part of English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ...


The purpose of the tusk has been the subject of much debate. Early scientific theories suggested that the tusk was used to pierce the ice covering the narwhal's Arctic Sea habitat. Others suggested the tusk was used in echolocation. More recently, scientists believed the tusk is primarily used for showmanship and for dominance: males with larger tusks are more likely to successfully attract a mate. This hypothesis was suggested by the activity of "tusking", in which two males rub their tusks together. The Arctic Ocean, located entirely in the north polar region, is the smallest of the worlds five oceans (after the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Southern Ocean), and the shallowest. ... Echolocation, also called Biosonar, is the biological sonar used by several mammals such as bats (although not all species), dolphins and whales (though not baleen whales). ...


However, recent work by a research team led by Martin Nweeia suggests that the tusk may in fact be a sensory organ. Electron micrographs of tusks revealed millions of tiny, deep tubules extending from the tusk's surface, apparently connecting to the narwhal's nervous system. While such tubules are present in the teeth of many species, they do not typically extend to the surface of healthy teeth. The exact sensory purpose of the tusk remains unknown, but scientists now hypothesize that it may detect temperature, salinity, pressure, and/or particulate makeup of the water in which the narwhal swims.[3] Unlike the tusks of elephants, narwhal tusks do not regrow if they break off. However if damaged the tusks can repair themselves to a certain extent. Genera and Species Loxodonta Loxodonta cyclotis Loxodonta africana Elephas Elephas maximus Elephas antiquus † Elephas beyeri † Elephas celebensis † Elephas cypriotes † Elephas ekorensis † Elephas falconeri † Elephas iolensis † Elephas planifrons † Elephas platycephalus † Elephas recki † Stegodon † Mammuthus † Elephantidae (the elephants) is a family of pachyderm, and the only remaining family in the order Proboscidea...


Male narwhals weigh up to 1600 kg (3500 lb), the female around 1000 kg (2200 lb). Most of the body is pale with brown speckles in color, though the neck, head and edges of the flippers and fluke are nearly black. Older animals are usually more brightly colored than younger animals. Look up Fluke in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Behaviour and diet

Narwhals "tusking"
Narwhals "tusking"

Narwhals are quick, active mammals which feed mainly on species of cod that reside under ice-enclosed seas. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1500x954, 475 KB) See also: http://www. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1500x954, 475 KB) See also: http://www. ... Subclasses & Infraclasses Subclass †Allotheria* Subclass Prototheria Subclass Theria Infraclass †Trituberculata Infraclass Metatheria Infraclass Eutheria Mammals (class Mammalia) are warm-blooded, vertebrate animals characterized by the presence of sweat glands, including those that produce milk, and by the presence of: hair, three middle ear bones used in hearing, and a neocortex... COD may refer to many different topics, including: Cash on delivery Completion of discharge, shipping College of DuPage, a public Junior College with campuses in the suburbs of Chicago Call of Duty (series), a series of computer games Canadian Oxford Dictionary Carrier onboard delivery Catastrophic optical damage, a failure mode...


In some areas their diet seems to have adapted to include squid, shrimp, and various fish, such as schooling pelagic fish, halibut, and redfish. Canadian Researcher William Sommers has found that when food is scarce, narwhals will even eat baby seals. Narwhals normally congregate in groups of about five to ten. Sometimes several of these groups might come together, particularly in summer when they congregate on the same coast. For other uses, see Squid (disambiguation). ... Superfamilies Alpheoidea Atyoidea Bresilioidea Campylonotoidea Crangonoidea Galatheacaridoidea Nematocarcinoidea Oplophoroidea Palaemonoidea Pandaloidea Pasiphaeoidea Procaridoidea Processoidea Psalidopodoidea Stylodactyloidea True shrimp are swimming, decapod crustaceans classified in the infraorder Caridea, found widely around the world in both fresh and salt water. ... The pelagic zone is the part of the open sea or ocean comprising the water column, i. ... This article is about the flatfish species; for the United States Navy ships named Halibut see USS Halibut. ... Binomial name Micropterus punctulatus (Rafinesque, 1819) The spotted bass (Micropterus punctulatus) is a species of freshwater fish in the sunfish family (Centrarchidae) of order Perciformes. ...


At times, male narwhals rub their tusks together in an activity called "tusking". Recent findings of a marine mammal researcher at the Smithsonian Institution showed that the tusk also plays a role in the animal's sensory perception, with as many as 10 million tiny nerves present within the modified tooth. This suggests that the tusking may simply be a way of clearing encrustations from the sensory tubules, analogous to brushing teeth.


Narwhals are deep divers. During a typical deep dive the animal will descend at 2 m/s for eight to ten minutes, reaching a depth of at least 1,500  m (5,000 ft), spend perhaps a couple of minutes at depth before returning to the surface. Metre per second (U.S. spelling: meter per second) is an SI derived unit of both speed (scalar) and velocity (vector), defined by distance in metres divided by time in seconds. ...


Population and distribution

The frequent (solid) and rare (striped) occurrence of the narwhal

The narwhal is found predominantly in the Atlantic and Russian areas of the Arctic. Individuals are commonly recorded in the northern part of Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, Cottage Lake, Baffin Bay; off the east coast of Greenland; and in a strip running east from the northern end of Greenland round to eastern Russia (170°E). Land in this strip includes Svalbard, Franz Joseph Land, and Severnaya Zemlya. The northernmost sightings of narwhal have occurred north of Franz Joseph Land, at about 85°N. Download high resolution version (800x906, 144 KB)This image was uploaded to the German Wikipedia by who released it under the cc-by-sa license. ... Download high resolution version (800x906, 144 KB)This image was uploaded to the German Wikipedia by who released it under the cc-by-sa license. ... Hudson Bay, Canada. ... Hudson Strait is a strait connecting Hudson Bay to the Atlantic Ocean, running in an west-east direction. ... Baffin Bay, lying between Nunavut, Canada and Greenland. ... Franz Josef Land (russ. ... Severnaya Zemlya, Russia Severnaya Zemlya (Russian: , Northern Land) is an archipelago located in the Russian high Arctic at around . ...


The world population is currently estimated to be around 50,000 individuals[4]. Most estimates of population have concentrated on the fjords and inlets of Northern Canada and western Greenland. Aerial surveys suggest a population of around 20,000 individuals. When submerged animals are also taken into account, the true figure may be in excess of 25,000. Fjord in Sunnmøre, Norway Geirangerfjord, Norway A fjord (or fiord) is a long, narrow estuary with steep sides, made when a glacial valley is filled by rising sea water levels. ... Northern Canada, defined politically Northern Canada is the vast northernmost region of Canada variously defined by geography and politics. ...


Narwhals are a migratory species. In summer months they move closer to coasts. As the winter freeze begins, they move away from shore, and reside in densely-packed ice, surviving in leads and small holes in the ice. As spring comes these leads open up into channels and the narwhals return to the coastal bays.


Predation and conservation

The main predators of the narwhal are polar bears and orcas. Inuit people are allowed to hunt this whale species legally. The northern climate provides little nutrition in the form of vitamins which can only be obtained through the consumption of seal, whale, and walrus. The livers of these animals are often eaten immediately following the killing by the hunting party in an ancient ceremony of respect for the animal. In Greenland, traditional hunting methods in whaling are used (such as harpooning), but high-speed boats and hunting rifles are frequently used in Northern Canada. PETA and other animal rights groups have long protested the killing of narwhals. This article is about the animal. ... Binomial name Orcinus orca Linnaeus, 1758 Orca range (in blue) The Orca or Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) is the largest species of the oceanic dolphin family (Delphinidae). ... For other uses, see Inuit (disambiguation). ... This article is about the hunting of prey by human society. ... The crew of the oceanographic research vessel Princesse Alice, of Albert Grimaldi (later Prince Albert I of Monaco) pose while flensing a catch. ... For other uses, see Boat (disambiguation). ... A rifle is any long gun which has a rifled barrel. ... Northern Canada, defined politically Northern Canada is the vast northernmost region of Canada variously defined by geography and politics. ... Peta can refer to: Peta (prefix), a prefix meaning times 1015 in the International System of Units People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal-rights organization People Eating Tasty Animals, a parody of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Peta, Greece, a town in the prefecture... For the album by Moby, see Animal Rights (album). ...


Cultural References

In Inuit legend, the narwhal was created when a woman holding onto a harpoon had been pulled into the ocean and twisted around the harpoon. The submerged woman was wrapped around a beluga whale on the other end of the harpoon, and that is how the narwhal was created. Image File history File links Coat_of_arms_of_Nunavut. ... Motto: Nunavut Sannginivut (Inuktitut: Nunavut our strength or Our land our strength) Capital Iqaluit Largest city Iqaluit Official languages Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun, English, French Government - Commissioner Ann Meekitjuk Hanson - Premier Paul Okalik (Consensus government) Federal representation in Canadian Parliament - House seats 1 (Nancy Karetak-Lindell) - Senate seats 1 (Willie Adams) Confederation... A modern coat of arms is derived from the medi val practice of painting designs onto the shield and outer clothing of knights to enable them to be identified in battle, and later in tournaments. ... Inuit mythology has many similarities to the religions of other polar regions. ... For other uses, see Harpoon (disambiguation) Harpoon gun redirects here. ...


Some medieval Europeans believed narwhal tusks to be the horns from the legendary unicorn.[5] As these tusks were considered to have magic powers, Vikings and other northern traders were able to sell them for many times their weight in gold. The horns were used to make cups that were thought to negate any poison that may have been slipped into the drink. During the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth received a carved and bejeweled narwhal tusk for £10,000 - the cost of a castle - which she used as a sceptre.[citation needed] The tusks were staples of the cabinet of curiosities. The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... The gentle and pensive maiden has the power to tame the unicorn, in this fresco in Palazzo Farnese, Rome, probably by Domenichino, ca 1602 For other uses, see Unicorn (disambiguation). ... Not to be confused with Magic (illusion). ... The name Viking is a loan from the native Scandinavian term for the Norse seafaring warriors who raided the coasts of Scandinavia, Europe and the British Isles from the late 8th century to the 11th century, the period of European history referred to as the Viking Age. ... GOLD refers to one of the following: GOLD (IEEE) is an IEEE program designed to garner more student members at the university level (Graduates of the Last Decade). ... Elizabeth I Queen of England and Ireland Queen of France, nominal title Elizabeth I (September 7, 1533–March 24, 1603) was Queen of England and Queen of Ireland from November 17, 1558 until her death. ... For the 2002 novel by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, see The Cabinet of Curiosities Musei Wormiani Historia, the frontispiece from the Museum Wormianum depicting Ole Worms cabinet of curiosities. ...


The truth of the tusk's origin developed gradually during the Age of Exploration, as explorers and naturalists began to visit Arctic regions themselves. In 1555, Olaus Magnus published a drawing of a fish-like creature with a horn on its forehead, while in 1577, Martin Frobisher depicted the horn going forward. The definitive end to the legend came in 1638, when Danish zoologist Ole Wurm gave a public lecture on the narwhal's tusks. In Jules Verne's novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, the submarine Nautilus is initially believed to be an unclassified subspecies of narwhal. The so-called Age of Exploration was a period from the early 15th century and continuing into the early 17th century, during which European ships were traveled around the world to search for new trading routes and partners to feed burgeoning capitalism in Europe. ... Events Russia breaks 60 year old truce with Sweden by attacking Finland February 2 - Diet of Augsburg begins February 4 - John Rogers becomes first Protestant martyr in England February 9 - Bishop of Gloucester John Hooper is burned at the stake May 23 - Paul IV becomes Pope. ... Olaus Magnus, or Magni (Magnus, Latin for the Swedish Stora -- great -- is the family name, and not a personal epithet), reported as born in October 1490 in Linköping, and died on August 1, 1557, was a Swedish ecclesiastic and writer, who did pioneering work for the interest of Nordic... Events March 17 - formation of the Cathay Company to send Martin Frobisher back to the New World for more gold May 28 - Publication of the Bergen Book, better known as the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord, one of the Lutheran confessional writings. ... Martin Frobisher by Cornelis Ketel. ... Events March 29 - Swedish colonists establish first settlement in Delaware, called New Sweden. ... Ole Worm Ole Worm (May 13, 1588–August 31, 1654), (pronounced Olay Vorm) who often went by the Latinized form of his name Olaus Wormius, was a Danish physician and antiquary. ... This article is about the French author. ... Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is a classic science fiction novel by French writer Jules Verne (1828–1905), published in 1870 under the title Vingt mille lieues sous les mers. ... The Nautilus, as pictured in The Mysterious Island The Nautilus was the fictional submarine featured in Jules Vernes novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870) and The Mysterious Island (1874). ...


Gallery

References

Cetaceans Portal
  1. ^ (Latin) Linnaeus, C (1758). Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata.. Holmiae. (Laurentii Salvii)., 824. 
  2. ^ Carwardine, Mark (April 1995). DK Handbooks: Whales Dolphins and Porpoises. Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 1564586200. 
  3. ^ Marine Biology Mystery Solved: Function of "Unicorn" Whale's 8-foot Tooth Discovered. Harvard Medical School (2005-12-13). Retrieved on 2007-02-26.
  4. ^ That's One Weird Tooth at Science News
  5. ^ Daston, Lorraine and Katharine Park. Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150-1750. New York: Zone Books, 2001.
General references

This image shows the fluke of Sperm Whale as it begins a dive into the Gulf of Mexico. ... Carl Linnaeus, Latinized as Carolus Linnaeus, also known after his ennoblement as  , (May 23, 1707[1] – January 10, 1778), was a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist[2] who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of nomenclature. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 347th day of the year (348th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st Century. ... is the 57th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Science News is an American weekly magazine devoted to short articles about new scientific and technical developments, typically gleaned from recent scientific and technical journals. ... The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (also known as the IUCN Red List and Red Data List), created in 1963, is the worlds most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species and can be found here. ... The World Conservation Union or International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) is an international organization dedicated to natural resource conservation. ... is the 347th day of the year (348th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Narwhal at AllExperts (821 words)
The name "narwhal" is derived from the Old Norse words for 'corpse' and 'whale' to describe the mottled white and grey colouring of the skin of the adult.
The conspicuous characteristic of male Narwhals is their extraordinarily long tusk which projects from the left side of their jaws and has a clockwise-oriented spiralled ridge.
During that time Narwhal tusks (usually found washed-up on northern shores) were believed to have come from a horse-like creature that had healing powers; however, according to the legend, the creature was a wild beast that could only be captured by offering a virgin as sacrificial bait.
Narwhal (652 words)
Narwhals usually take their time going places, slowly breathing and rolling, but when chased, they are remarkably quick.
The male narwhal sometimes duel in the summer feeding ground, crossing tusks in a friendly manner.
The narwhal has a low, bumpy ridge that begins in the middle of his back and goes to the flukes.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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