Drone footage reveals ‘sea unicorns’ catch prey with bizarre ivory horn (VIDEO)
Dubbed the ‘Unicorn of the Sea’ because of an ivory and dentine tooth that grows from its upper lip right out through its head, the narwhal has long garnered intrigue and was once the subject of fascination by naturalist Charles Darwin.
Notoriously difficult to observe, the narwhal uses its ‘tusk’ as part of its nervous system. In 2016 Harvard University researcher Dr Martin Nweeia described the elongated horn as an invaluable “sensory organ”.
But animal experts from Canada’s World Wildlife Fund have now released compelling evidence that the unicorn-like horn is also a weapon used to stun fish during a hunt.
Drone footage filmed in Tremblay Sound, Canada’s Arctic region, shows the majestic whales feeding off cod and hitting the fish with their large tusks.
The narwhal also appeared in the early zoological journal ‘Systema Naturae’ by Carl Linnaeus, who listed species of plant and animals back in 1758.
Arctic expert with WWF Brandon Laforest said the newly released footage was difficult to capture since the whales are “notoriously skittish.”
“This is an entirely new observation of how the tusk is used,” he told National Geographic.
“The holy grail for a wildlife cinematographer is to document animal behavior no-one has seen before, and by doing so, contribute new knowledge,” said Adam Ravetch, from Arctic Bear Productions, who helped film the footage.