|The Narwhal not only lacks a dorsal fin, but the
male Narwhal has a tooth on the left-hand side of its upper jaw that grows
into a long spiral horn. The horn may grow to a length of 9 3/4 feet and
weigh up to 22 pounds. A few male Narwhals will grow double horns and some
females may grow a single thin horn. The reason Narwhals have a horn is
unknown. Male Narwhals use their horns to duel one another called "tusking".
Narwhals are also one of the most vocal of the whale species.
The Narwhal is not an endangered species, but it is still hunted by the Inuit people of Greenland and Canada for its tusk, flesh and other edible parts. Its thick skin is boiled or eaten raw. Some of the meat is fed to sled dogs and the blubber is used to produce heat and light.
Estimates of the world's total population for Narwhal's is between 10,000 and 45,000 animals.
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.
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.
Some medieval Europeans believed narwhal tusks to be the horns from the legendary unicorn. 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.