Subject: Narwhal's Tusk

Aldemaro Romero (aRomero@herald.infi.net)
Thu, 05 Mar 1998 00:45:13 -0500

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Date: Thu, 05 Mar 1998 00:17:24 -0500
From: Aldemaro Romero <aRomero@herald.infi.net>
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To: taylora@meol.mass.edu
CC: ask@whale.wheelock.edu, pita@whale.wheelock.edu
Subject: Narwhales
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>Return-path: <taylora@meol.mass.edu>
>Date: Wed, 04 Mar 1998 15:30:55 +0000
>From: andrea taylor <taylora@meol.mass.edu>
>Subject: narwhales
>To: aRomero@ACC.FAU.EDU, pita@whale.wheelock.edu
>Reply-to: taylora@meol.mass.edu
>
>Could you please tell me the primary reason for the narwhal's tusk?  I
>have read many theories, but have found no definate answers.  I am a 5th
>grade student doing research on the narwhal and I would appreciate any
>information you can provide.  Thank you.

Dear Andrea:

Many years ago it was believed that the tusk (which is only present in
males) was used to find and remove food from the bottom.  However, later
observations indicated that this oversized tooth was being used by males
during their ritualized combats (which are bloodless) in order to
establish their dominance over females. This is the most accepted
explanation today.

Best wishes,

Aldemaro Romero, Ph.D.

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