General Information

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Introduction

The narwhal is one of the strangest, most fascinating animals in the entire ocean.  The narwhal is the unicorn of the sea, found in Arctic coastal waters and rivers. Commonly thought to have one horn, these legendary animals in fact have two teeth.  In males, the more prominent tooth grows into a swordlike, spiral tusk up to 8.8 feet long. This tusk tooth grows right through the narwhal’s upper lip. However, scientists are not sure what this legendary “horn” is used for. Many speculate it could be used for mating rituals, while others hypothesize that it may be used to fend off rivals. Female narwhals sometimes grow a tusk themselves, however it is much smaller than the male’s.

A Female Narwhal Mid-Dive

A Female Narwhal Mid-Dive

With the body of an orca and the horn-looking-tooth of a unicorn, it is easy to see narwhals as mythical creatures. However, narwhals are well known and are hunted by Inuit people for their long tusks and their skin, an important source of vitamin C in the traditional Arctic diet. The narwhal, which grows between 13 and 20 feet, belongs to the family Monodontidae. This family is comprised of only two species, the narwhal and the beluga whale. Both animals are listed as “Nearly Threatened” and live in the Arctic Ocean. 

Discovery News Does A Very Factual Report On Narwhals

Classification

Narwhal Body Diagram

Kingdom:    Animalia – Multicellular, heterotrophic, sexually reproducing, eukaryotic organisms.

Phylum:     Chordata – Animals containing a notochord, a hollow dorsal nerve chord, pharyngeal slits (embryonic gill slits), an endostyle (mucous producing gland in the pharynx), and a post-anal tail during fetal development and/or throughout their life cycle.

Class:            Mammalia – Warm-blooded vertebrates with hair, three middle ear bones, a 4-chambered heart, a neocortex (outer layer of the brain enabling high-functioning sensory perception), and females with milk-producing mammary glands.

Order:      Cetacea – Aquatic animals that have a spindle-shaped body, flippers, a hind tail with horizontal flukes, come up to the surface for air through their blowholes, and have eyes set on the sides of their head.  

Suborder:     Odontoceti –Toothed whales 

Family:         Monodontidae – Wide ranging carnivorous diet, and have few teeth. 

Genus:           Monodon – One tooth

Species:         monoceros – One horn

Scientific Name:     Monodon monoceros

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8 responses to “General Information

  1. Hey Jake. Everything looks good; however, there is no way to comment on your “Home” page. Edit the page and figure out how to “enable comments” on your home page. Meanwhile, you get 25/25 for Checkpoint #1.

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  2. are they still alive in 2016? i love narwals since i was was 10 and now 12 i still do .

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    • Yeah! They’re still alive, but, unfortunately, they’re population is ever-dwindling. I’m so happy to hear about your love for narwhals! What sparked that love? How did you find out about them? Unfortunately, the fact that you don’t know about their situation is emblematic of the general population’s awareness towards narwhals. And there within lies the real problem for the narwhal. Help spread awareness! Tell your friends! Tell your family!! Get them interested! Make them fall in love with the majestic creature! I hope your love for the narwhal lives on.

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  3. Maxwell Quirin

    Do you happen to have a estimate of the number of their population? It would be interesting to see.

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  4. Maxwell Quirin

    Do you happen to have an estimate of thier current population? it would be interesting to see.

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    • “The aggregate circumpolar population of narwhals is probably greater than 80,000 (all ages). At the global level the species does not qualify for a threatened status under any of the criteria, although there is substantial uncertainty about numbers and trends in large parts of the range and clear evidence of decline for specific subpopulations.” (http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/13704/0)

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  5. Max q A.K.A VENDETA

    Do you happen to have an estimate of their population? It would be interesting to know.

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    • “The aggregate circumpolar population of narwhals is probably greater than 80,000 (all ages). At the global level the species does not qualify for a threatened status under any of the criteria, although there is substantial uncertainty about numbers and trends in large parts of the range and clear evidence of decline for specific subpopulations.” (http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/13704/0)

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