Family heirlooms come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it’s something valuable, like an antique piece of jewelry. Other times it’s sentimental, like an infant’s christening outfit.
And sometimes it’s a narwhal tusk.
A friend of The Maritime Aquarium who has a narwhal tusk – received as a unique hand-me-down from a family member – has loaned it to the Aquarium for temporary display. It’s in an exhibit case right after the Sea Turtles exhibit.
Dubbed the “unicorn of the sea,” the narwhal is known for its giant, spiraling horn, which is actually a tooth that juts out from its upper jaw. The exact purpose of the tusk is still a mystery to scientists, but many believe it is used for mating rituals and asserting dominance.
The tusks, which can grow up to 10 feet long, are typically found on males. Continue reading