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There's a typo: far should be "fast." I was going to fix it when I realized the math doesn't work. If it dives at 2 meter/sec for up to 10 minutes, it would only get to 1200 feet. Either the speed or depth is wrong. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:02, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I wanted to clarify that there was recently a Great White shark recorded diving the depth of 2,000+ ft. According to a national geograhic documentary study. You should cange the information about this animal being able to dive deeper than most marine animals, because Great Whites can beat their diving depth numbers. May 4, 2010 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:26, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Um, sharks are not mammals... Richard New Forest (talk) 23:00, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
True — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:31, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

Range of Habitat[edit]

Can we clarify the range - My son and I came across a recently deceased narwhal on the coast of Scotland near Maidens - the body of water there is the Firth of Clyde

Rugbygolfer (talk) 01:46, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Not based on an unverified, anecdotal report. It should be reported in the primary, peer-reviewed scientific literature.

A tusk is a tooth, not a horn, and it is hardly "growing from the forehead". The article seems to be a mixture of zoological and superstitious information.

I added it to my (long) todo list. I am writing articles on species for which we don't have articles at all so far. Then I'll come back and add more to the articles that we were written before we got a framework set up at the project page. Pete/Pcb21 dgfh(talk) 12:14, 8 Feb 2004 (UTC)

hi narwhas i like narwales — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:27, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

HornOn: Apply directly to the forehead. HornOn: Apply directly to the forehead. HornOn: Apply directly to the forehead.


Is it just me or does it seem dubious that this article identifies that Narwhals are called "reamfish" in some parts of the world. What parts would that be? 00:40, 1 October 2007 (UTC)


Another possible vagueness is this business of the narwhal-as-source-for-unicorn-legend. I'd heard that idea before, certainly, but only raised as a possibility; the article at present states it as definite. Are scholars more resolved on this matter than I thought?Iralith 20:32, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

There's a good explanation of the Narwhal/unicorn connection here. --Clay Collier 02:59, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Another source for the Narwhal tusk / unicorn horn connection is:

Daston, Lorraine and Katharine Park. Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150-1750. New York: Zone Books, 2001: pp. 69,74-75, 77, 88, 108, 331, 333, & 384 n. 14.

Daston and Park show beyond doubt that narwhal tusks WERE believed to be unicorn horns in the Middle Ages. They also write that unicorn horns were believed to counteract many poisons, and these misidentified narwhal tusks were often incorperated in reliquaries or just displayed in their own right in Mediaeval churches.

I'm going to add this unicorn information source to the article, unless anyone else objects, in which case I'll remove it.

Lnbaker104 22:14, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

I added the citation, but something with my coding seems to have gone wrong. Someone with more knowledge of wikicode than me should probably take a look at the page now. Sorry about that. If you know what I did wrong, message me and tell me, so I don't make the same mistake again. Thanks.

Lnbaker104 22:39, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

I visited the Schatzkammer, or Austrian Royal Treasury, and found a 'unicorn' horn about 3 meters long. It was gifted to the Hapsburg Empire by the Polish as a unicorn horn. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:56, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

Latin name[edit]

What is the correct binomial name, the article presents two different spellings? Is it monodon monoceros or monodon monceros?

"Monceros" is a typo. It's "monoceros," per Google, my dictionary, and my sense of the etymology involved. I'll go ahead and change it. Iralith 21:58, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Map caption[edit]

The current english caption of the picture reads:

The summer (solid) and winter (striped) distributions of the Narwhal

However, the german caption imprinted into the picture translates as

frequent occurence (solid) and rare occurence of the Narwhale (striped)

Can someone clarify whether this is a mistranslation? The explanation in the text (that the whales leave the coasts during the winter) sounded acceptable for me at first, but given the fact that the striped areas are covered by thick ice during winter I am starting to doubt it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 11:24, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

  • Altho "Vorkommen" is an unfamiliar word to me, i agree that the second English version above is at least closer to the German, and that the first, from the article, sounds completely unjustified by the German. If it the caption is true (but not a translation), then for the sake of non-confusion, the graphic should be edited to remove the German text.
    --Jerzyt 14:42, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Stop it![edit]

Stop vandalizing the article, whoever you are! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cff12345 (talkcontribs) 15:19, June 17, 2005

yes, whoever though it would be funny to put that narwhals swim through sand is an idiot, and very disruptive! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 09:03, November 29, 2006

Hi - I'm really new to this, but I saw this stupid "pirate story" about narwhals and I removed it. This was the text:

Once a narwhal stabbed a pirate with its tusk. The pirate survived, and became the 16th century's leading narwhal preservationist. Here is an account from his diary. "the great beast rose out of the water and tossed our boat like a rat nut. I felt the icy chill of the water against my shriveling scrotum. Then, like a splinter through my anal canal, its tusk rammed my anal canal. When I woke up my crew was surrounding me speaking in hushed voices about how I was having a period out my ass. But I had a new respect for the whale, it is a worthy foe, and I believe whole heartedly that we as a people should do all we can to prevent its extinction."

And as funny as a pirate bleeding from the ass is, we all know a pirate would have capitalized the first letter in his great ass-stabbing saga. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Evi1pilotfish (talkcontribs) 14:43, January 18, 2007

wow. coaxial 21:15, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Scientists, using carbon dating, now believe that pirate was actually Guy Smiley

The pirate story is every bit as well documented as most of the claims in this article. Rogerborg (talk) 13:37, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

can i say that is the funnies thing ive seen on wikipedia since someone put that an orangutan named Bobo ran for mayor of Riverdale in 1950 and came in secon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:43, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Also, can a moderator adjust the statement at the bottom about the scientist studying them? It sounds very POV to say "stimulus funding" in quotes. Can it be changed to just "funding"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:46, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Two-tusk photo[edit]

The two-tusk photo no longer appears in the de: article, & has been transferred from de: to Commons. It is unsuitable for the article w/o deeper discussion of the anomaly (and, unless i misread the German commentary that accompanies our copy, of the embryology), and does not obviate the need for a photo, in similar resolution, of the typical case! As it stands, it is confusing. Someone a little more image-savvy than i could surely replace it with the more suitable (tho disappointingly less well lit & i think lower resolution) Two narwhal skulls (now used in the de: article), which says

...Das Bild ist damit gemeinfrei („public domain“). Dies gilt weltweit.


...The picture is thereby gemeinfrei (public domain). This holds world-wide.

--Jerzyt 16:16, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

I don't think the two-tusk photo should be there at all. I came for information about typical narwhals, and the photo of a skull of an anomalous one would maybe serve better as just a link in the article or as an image further down in the article. Dave 04:07, 25 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree the anomaly should be given less notice. A-giau 17:19, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm guessing ththe photo was actually a male skull, since it is both extremely rare for a female to have tusks, and for a male to have two tusks, so a female with two tusks would be incredibly unlikely.- Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg | Talk 06:36, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Nevertheless the German description clearly states it is a female skull. The author cites the description in the museum: "All these skulls with two tusks are from male animals, but the skull from Hamburg (i.e. this one) has been prooved to be from a female animal. It therefore is unique." M adler 18:34, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Despite the gender, I think the two-tusk photo should be deleted and an one-tusk photo added. It is better to represent what is usual, not unique. 15:43, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

What the-.. I thought all narwhals had two tusks, and they were twisted together into the one horn. If that's not true where the heck did I read it?

Do u Know That dolphins Rock? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:51, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Article on narwhals that contradicts some of the wikipedia article[edit]

According to this narwhals have been recorded as diving "almost 1800m". It is a fairly long article but it has a wealth of information about narwhals, so someone more well versed in the wikipedia policies may want to edit the article accordingly if this link is considered credible.

        • 5/10/2013***

Narwhal age and reproductive age/size need to be updated. The previous study of 50yrs was only conducted over 5 individuals. From journal of mammalogy. Garde, E., Heide-Jørgensen, M. P., Hansen, S. H., Nachman , G., & Forchhammer, M. C., (2007). Age-Specific Growth and Remarkable Longeticity in Narwhals (Monodon monoceros) from West Greenland as Estimated by Aspartic Acid Racemization. Journal of Mammology, 88(1), 49-58. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:16, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

Current vandalism[edit]

Maybe someone should remove the vandalism currently in the article. I was unable due to it's protected status. I also don't really know what I'm doing on here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:31, January 21, 2007

If you could be more specific, one of us could help. Anyway, put the {{editprotected}} template on this page, specify the vandalism, and someone should be along to help. Patstuarttalk|edits 18:44, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

I think the bits being referred to are the 'Headline Text' section which currently reads 'I AM SO COOL', and later on in the article it reads 'TYLER IS WEIRD...TYLER IS WEIRD'. I can't remove them due to the article's protected status. (Philba 13:08, 25 January 2007 (UTC))


Is there a standard Wikipedia policy on this?

I'm sorry, but I don't think that a passing reference on a single episode of "The Colbert Report", however funny the show might be, is justified as an example of "Narwhals in Culture" on the level of Inuit mythology. Mascot of a sports team, fine, I guess. Plot point in a successful movie, fine, I guess. But we don't need to catalogue every throwaway joke on every television show. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 13:42, 17 April 2007 (UTC).

tusk regrowth[edit]

In this article, the statement was made: "Like the tusks of elephants, narwhal tusks do not regrow if they break off. However if damaged the tusks can repair themselves to a certain extent." However, barring severe damage to the root/soft tissue at their base, the tusks of elephants do grow back. I've got a BS in zoology, and I have worked as a zookeeper with elephants, so please believe me on this point. However, I don't know whether this is true for narwhals so I'm not going to change the statement that theirs do not grow back. I've edited the article to state, "[u]nlike the tusks of elephants, narwhal tusks do not regrow if they break off." Diabolika 03:22, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

More Vandalism[edit]

Someone appears to have replaced a variety of names in the article with the name "Clara Tift" - at least, I'm assuming Clara wasn't alive in both 1555 and 2007. FlashbackJon 09:29, 28 May 2007 (UTC)


"a mythical creature created by the Nordic people" is incorrect. While narwhals are a subject of Nordic myths, they are not imaginary. 23:02, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

In a race between a narwhal anda killer whale who would win?[edit]

I have heard that narwhals are faster, but if caught unawares, the killer whale will ram and eat the narwhal. Requesting Verification. Tar7arus 13:30, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Is the tusk used for offensive/defensive purposes?[edit]

The article indicates some uses for the tusk. However it does not indicate either way whether or not the tusk is used as a weapon. As it is a tooth it seems possible that it would be used in that way as many organisms use their teeth as weapons. However the tusk may be too fragile or valuable to use in that capacity. Does anyone know whether or not the tusk is used for defense or hunting purposes? (talk) 14:17, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

This probably isn't the place to discuss this (the science helpdesk is a better venue) but from looking at the references, probably not. There's no mention that I can see of the tusk being used as a weapon - only a brief mention of it being used in the male dominance game, and even that was a theory. Tan | 39 14:30, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

As far as I can find, there is no concrete knowledge of the horn's use. There are several theories including a more recent one about it's use to guage water temperature and pressure -- similar to a barometer. See more on this at —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:21, 1 July 2009 (UTC)


Lol. Narwhal. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:49, 11 February 2009 (UTC) The narwhal tusk is thought to be an example of sexual selection but I don't think anyone knows for sure. I also noticed that the article states that the tusk is from an incisor but if you look at a skull, the tusk is posterior to the suture line in the maxilla, indicating that it is a canine tooth. Misselaneous (talk) 02:21, 24 October 2009 (UTC)


Since October 13, there have been about 140 edits to this page; about 6 of those have been good faith edits concerning the Narwhal in pop culture (which are always reverted). The rest are vandalisms or reverts of vandalisms. I have no idea why this page is such an inviting target, but for whatever reason, it seems like a lock is appropriate. Aepryus (talk) 14:28, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

I agree that it should be locked. The amount of vandalism on this page has been a real problem, and the subtler vandalism tends to get overlooked. --Ships at a Distance (talk) 01:55, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Hunting with the Tusk[edit]

I removed, what I assume to be vandalism concerning the use of the tusk in hunting ("which they hunt by spearing with their tusk"). This line has been in the article since October 13. I realize it lasted so long since it is somewhat subtle.

I assume it is vandalism for the following reasons:

- There are no mentions of its use in hunting listed in the section concerning theories about its function.
- I can think of zero instances in nature where a horn or tusk is used to spear prey.
- The editor was anonymous and made only 2 edits both to this article related to this phrase.
- Nearly, all edits of this article are vandalism or reverts of vandalism.

Aepryus (talk) 14:28, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Current Conservation Status[edit] is Near Threatened (NT). Aepryus (talk) 08:34, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

I've just deleted vandalism that said the Narwhal is extinct; it is in fact, as Aepryus points out, Near Threatened. The IP that made the change was Dave Cole - unoriginalname38 (talk) 00:33, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with File:Coat of Arms of Nunavut.png[edit]

The image File:Coat of Arms of Nunavut.png is used in this article under a claim of fair use, but it does not have an adequate explanation for why it meets the requirements for such images when used here. In particular, for each page the image is used on, it must have an explanation linking to that page which explains why it needs to be used on that page. Please check

  • That there is a non-free use rationale on the image's description page for the use in this article.
  • That this article is linked to from the image description page.

This is an automated notice by FairuseBot. For assistance on the image use policy, see Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --15:46, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Changes to text[edit]

I made some revisions and added more current references from the peer-reviewed literature. I also removed the ghastly toy picture! Hope these changes meet approval. Cheers, Eliezg (talk) 21:19, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Antarctic sightings?[edit]

Just out of curiosity, how come no mention is made in the article of the possible antactic narwhal sightings that exist?

ChicagoMel (talk) 17:52, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Because there is no such thing. Eliezg (talk) 18:04, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

'Latin' name[edit]

The scientific name of the Narwhal, monodon monoceros, is derived from Greek, "one-tooth one-horn". While all taxonomic names are Latinized, they are not etymologically Latin. Thus it is misleading to say "The Latin name translates as "One tooth, One horn""; it is the scientific or taxonomic name that translates to that. I would edit this and change it but I'm not a Wikipedia user. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:29, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the useful comment; I made an appropriate revision. Next time, be BOLD and do it yourself! Best, Eliezg (talk) 23:01, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't matter if they're etymologically Latin, they are latin now. It would not be correct to say that "the scientific or taxonomic name translates to" something else: only languages can be translated. --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 19:16, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

In modern literature and film[edit]

Wasn't there a Narwhal (Mr. Narwhal) in the movie Elf? When Buddy is leaving the North Pole, traveling to NY, I believe he receives a "Bye-bye, Buddy" from a friend named Mr. Narwhal, who I can only assume is a narwhal. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:22, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Elf (2003): As Buddy is leaving the North Pole, he says goodbye to the polar bear, arctic puffin, and walrus. Then, the narwhal surfaces and scares the animals away. He then says, "Bye Buddy. Hope you find your dad." Buddy replies with, "Thanks Mr. Narwhal." Mpziehr (talk) 00:21, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Point out how funny they look[edit]

Every time I see one of these things it makes me laugh. I think we should include a bit on the links between narwhals and laughter. Also: common name in northern alaskan communities is Unicorn Whale. (talk) 10:28, 3 March 2009 (UTC) Fooyah

Size comparison image inconsistent with info given in article[edit]

In the Description section, it says:

The most conspicuous characteristic of the male narwhal is its single 2-3 m (7-10 ft) long tusk. It is an incisor tooth that projects from the left side of the upper jaw and forms a left-handed helix. The tusk can be up to three meters (nearly 10 ft) long (compared with a body length of 4-6 m [13-16 ft]) and weigh up to 10 kg (22 lbs).

This description of a ca. 2.5m long tusk plus a ca. 5m long body for a total length of 7.5m appears to be inconsistent with this size comparison image, where the total length of the depicted whale appears to be less than 5m -- in fact, if this is an average size adult human, then the total size of the narwhal shown would barely exceed 4m. (talk) 22:56, 6 March 2009 (UTC)


{{editsemiprotected}} In the predation and conservation section, it says something about all the parts of the narwhal being used including "mean". I think this is a typo and should be meat. 2008 Topps (talk) 20:39, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done - well spotted. Thanks. ~ mazca t|c 23:12, 10 March 2009 (UTC)


Much of the recent vandalism can be attributed to the above meme, which may be found here. The meme consists of repeated, and absurdly enthusiastic, posts about narwhals in a message-board thread dedicated to moderating excess in users' postings. Since a large number of people who view (or "contribute" to) this article are doing so because of the above meme, maybe it deserves mention (see "All your base", etc...). Maybe a blurb in the culture section?

Weebl/Wanchop's animation was probably inspired by this trolling, and is considerably more tasteful.Roothorick (talk) 06:14, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

If you are going to lock it for vandalism, then please edit out the vandalism. Most recently: "The Narwhal are an order of warrior monks who serve as "the guardians of peace and justice in the sea" and embrace the mystical Force.

They use a quasi-telekinetic power known as "the Force" and the large tusk protruding from their heads to protect their underwater habitat and the Republic they serve from conflict and help to stabilize the underwater kingdom. They sometimes moderate peace talks between different species of underwater life, and, if necessary, use their formidable fighting skills to quickly end a conflict." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:09, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

In modern literature and film[edit]

I deleted the "In modern literature and film" section for all the normal reasons. None of them are particularly notable, or contribute much to understanding of narwhals. But, for the record, here they are:

The 1989 British film When the Whales Came is about a fictional British island that experiences an unusual event—the narwhals that seldom come near, beach themselves on the island [1]. It is based on the book (1985) Why the Whales Came by Michael Morpurgo.[2]
In the movie Bender's Big Score, Fry develops a fond interest for a Narwhal by the name of Leelu[3].
Weebl, the popular web animator, uploaded a cartoon about narwhals to Weebl's Stuff on 20th February 2009[4]

Best, Eliezg (talk) 14:29, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Narwhal Attacks:"For centuries, the Narwhal was the great mystery of the sea. With the body of a whale and the horn of a Unicorn, many people believed that these fascinating creatures were harmless inhabitants of the icy waters of the Artic Ocean. Recent studies, however, have exposed the secret agenda of these mysterious mammals and the true purpose of their extraordinarily long pointy tusks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by ZIAllamamamma (talkcontribs) 02:30, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

removed paragraph on newsom[edit]

I removed the paragraph on singer Newsom's lyric interpretation because it seemed like a trivia fact more than anything. Newsom doesn't seem to have a profound link to Narwhals or any sea mammals for that matter. If anything, the etymology of the Inuktitut might be interesting, but I couldn't find any proper references on the meaning of the name - plus, that information should probably be in the etymology section anyway. So if anyone is feeling bold, they should add Qilalugaq qernartaq and proper references to that section.

Popoi (talk) 00:14, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Meters to feet for diving[edit]

For all of the times that it says " X meters (Y feet)" it should say yards. Yards*3 = feet. If you wanted to show metric then English, then use the proper conversion. King Rhyono (talk) 05:55, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

WP:CETA capitalisation discussion[edit]

Range of hypotheses regarding tusk[edit]

Webpage devoted to Narwhal tusk research: 2005 NYT article on discovery of 10 million nerve endings on the tusk. It appears to be a sensory tool. (But then again, why would be on males only?) Measure for Measure (talk) 22:26, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

Unfortunately, the "study" in question is essentially a hoax that the New York Times fell for hook, line and sinker. There are exactly zero published or peer-reviewed providing any evidence for the "sensory tusk as vital organ for survival" hypothesis; therefore there is also no peer-reviewed refutation that can be pointed to. No serious arctic marine mammal researcher has ever dignified this myth with a response - and rightly so. Note that it also crumbles immediately under the scrutiny of your own very lucid question (why don't females have them? Do they not survive?) - a question that apparently never occurred to the NYT science reporter, nor, for that matter, to the dentist (note NOT marine biologist) who has single-handedly pushed this fantasy. - Eliezg (talk) 00:00, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
It appears the study is now a conference presentation, but I concur, nothing yet in the professional marine biology literature. --TeaDrinker (talk) 07:15, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Shouldn't this be explained somehow in the article? Maybe it could even have it's own section. I imagine people would come to the Narwhal page looking to find more information about it. They would instead find nothing...when I came to the page and saw nothing about this, I figured it must be fact, but the Wikipedia article had not been updated yet. dave (talk) 15:11, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps, although at this point it is essentially a crackpot hypothesis (for want of a better term). I don't think it has even been covered in the professional press to rebut it. I'm not sure what we could say; it has been covered, sure, but not by anyone knowledgeable in the field. My thinking is we should leave it out until some legitimate scientists can weigh in, rather than a dentist and the newspaper reporter's he has convinced. --TeaDrinker (talk) 15:18, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
It may be a crackpot hypothesis -- I'm in no position to judge -- but it has also been widely disseminated in the New York Times and publications that reproduced their article(s) on the subject.
Therefore, why not say exactly what has been said above (minus the P.O.V.). Namely, that although this is a hypothesis that has received widespread publicity, it has not yet appeared in a peer-reviewed journal and consequently is not something that experts on the subject have confirmed. I totally agree with dave that many people will come to this article looking for further information, and finding none will tend to believe that Wikipedia is at fault. It would be much better to say that it remains a hypothesis that experts have not confirmed.Daqu (talk) 04:55, 9 December 2011 (UTC)


I recommend this article be marked as requiring cleanup. The sentence about Linnaeus is, for example, stuffed with superfluous reference that harms reading. Although over time the writing has improved. It would also be good if the article were rewritten so interesting statements requiring citation are not interleaved with cited facts. Better would be adding citations as appropriate, of course. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:45, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

If you have more specific suggestions with respect to this article, please share them. Eliezg (talk) 18:56, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Narwhals in captivity "tend to die"[edit]

Wow, really? I had no idea. Thanks, Wikipedia! (talk) 16:42, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Natty Narwhal[edit]

The Operating System Ubuntu released a version titled Natty Narwhal and it should be added to the in culture section —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:43, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

Does this actually have anything to do with the animal, or is it just a natty name for an OS? If the latter it does not really belong here. Richard New Forest (talk) 17:09, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

Lefthandness of horns[edit]

According to [1] where the citation is from

Bonner, J. T. "The Horn of the Unicorn." Sci. Amer. 184, pp. 42-43, Mar. 1951.

it is worthy of note that both horns of the narwhal are left-handed. I'm not sure it this is worth including, so I'll leave it to someone more knowledgeable. RubberTyres (talk) 16:05, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Grouping name = Blessing?[edit]

I was looking at List of animal_names#Terms by species and_genera, and found that an aggregation of narwhals is a "blessing". However, I couldn't find anything to support this. Anyone have info on this? StevePrutz (talk) 17:28, 6 June 2011 (UTC)


The Narwhal is listed on appendix II[5] of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). It is listed on Appendix II[5] as it has an unfavourable conservation status or would benefit significantly from international co-operation organised by tailored agreements.

External link[edit]

Tusk function[edit] talks more about the studies conducted on the function of the tusk, which contridcts the current wiki's suggestion it is a secondary sexual characteristic, like a peacock's feathers or a lion's mane. "Nweeia has discovered that the narwhal's tooth has hydrodynamic sensor capabilities. Ten million tiny nerve connections tunnel their way from the central nerve of the narwhal tusk to its outer surface. Though seemingly rigid and hard, the tusk is like a membrane with an extremely sensitive surface, capable of detecting changes in water temperature, pressure, and particle gradients. Because these whales can detect particle gradients in water, they are capable of discerning the salinity of the water, which could help them survive in their Arctic ice environment. It also allows the whales to detect water particles characteristic of the fish that constitute their diet. There is no comparison in nature in tooth form, expression, and functional adaptation." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:11, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

As regards hypotheses about the function of the narwhal's tusk, please see the discussion above at Talk:Narwhal#Range_of_hypotheses_regarding_tusk. Until a peer-reviewed journal article appears with supporting evidence that the narwhal's tusk is sensory organ, of which there is none, this hypothesis shall not be included in the wiki article. - Eliezg (talk) 02:02, 5 September 2011 (UTC) turns out it's not an incisor. -Senor Freebie -- (talk) 10:36, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Tooth is a canine, not incisor[edit]

As noted in Why Evolution is true there is a new study that presents some evidence that the tusk develops from a canine, not an incisor (doi:10.1002/ar.22449). I haven't read through the paper though, so I am presenting it here for now. GoEThe (talk) 17:18, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 15 June 2012[edit]

Please delete or provide a source for "bacon" being part of a narwhal's diet in the sentence: "Their prey is predominantly composed of Greenland halibut, polar and Arctic cod, shrimp, bacon and Gonatus squid. " (talk) 19:59, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

Done  TOW  talk  22:42, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

False allegations concerning the Inuit diet relying supposedly on seal, whale and narwhal for vitamins[edit]

In the wikipedia article about the narwhal,paragraph "PRedation and Conservation" it is written "The northern climate provides little nutrition in the form of vitamins, which can only be obtained through the consumption of seal, whale, and walrus." . This is obviously stupid as a remark and shows the person who wrote this not only knows very little about Inuit diet when saying "only" but probably never took the time to read ...the wikipedia articles on seaweed, tubers, nordic types of berries, birch products and such, which are all extremely rich in vitamins, and didn't even read the article on Inuit diet on wikipedia also!! Vitamin C, anthocyanins and carotenoids for instance will be found in vegetal food, not animal food (well there are some types of carotenoids in animals, like the Ibis' feathers, but it comes from it's consumption of carotenoid rich plants, and there is the exception of some fish and shrimp which have a carotenoid in extremely small quantity which participates to make it's color pink, called asthaxanthin therefore animals cannot be considered an abundant source of carotenoids) . In fact the sentence is so stupid and wrong that it negates what is really going on in Arctic regions : apart from the grass,which humans do not digest well , almost any tuber or berry will be exceptionally rich in vitamins. Not to speak of the fish that the Inuit people eat -cod, herring, salmon,halibut , which contain much more vitamins than aquatic mammal meat, suffices to read for example the wikipedia article on fish oil, or cod liver oil, it's night and day compared to narwhal fat for example. Read also the wikipedia article "Inuit diet" which doesn't only rely on 3 poor sea mammals for vitamins! I propose that the whacky sentence I underlined should be erased and replaced with : "Narwhal has been extensively hunted the same way as other sea mammals such as seal and whale for it's large quantities of fat which constitued one of the most important ingredients of the native people living in arctic regions" . In one word, vitamins abound in seaweed, berries, tubers, fish , seafood, thus seal/whale/narwhal meat and fat are absolutely not the sole source of vitamins, far from it. (talk) 20:35, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Done Maine12329 (talk) 14:14, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

Global warming speculation[edit]

This seems irrelevant in the lede:

particularly vulnerable to climate change

Who comes to this article for this speculation about a feared future?

The statement does not seem to be encyclopedic. - Ac44ck (talk) 16:24, 28 July 2012 (UTC)


In the first line of the description it states their shorter length is 12ft 12in, which is 13 feet. The correct conversion from 3.95m is 12ft 11 1/2in. Azash123 (talk) 16:32, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Fixed by rounding this conversion to the nearest foot. It is a problem with the template that converts units. The problem was reported here: Wikipedia:Village_pump_(technical)#Conversion_function_not_simplifying_the_result_for_the_lower_end_of_a_range. - Ac44ck (talk) 04:12, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 30 March 2013[edit] (talk) 19:56, 30 March 2013 (UTC) zayn malik

Not done: please be more specific about what needs to be changed. RudolfRed (talk) 20:12, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 11 mai 2013[edit]

The informatie about the function of the tusk is not correct any more. Read: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:27, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

Do females have one or two tusks?[edit]

There seems to be conflicting evidence on whether the female normally has a tusk or not. [2], the article currently cited in Narwhal states " Female narwhals have a shorter, and straighter tusk."


[3] states "There are only 2 teeth, both in the upper jaw. In females, these almost always remain embedded in the upper jaw bones, but in males the left tooth normally grows out through the front of the head and becomes a tusk up to 3 m long. Occasionally, females with a tusk or males with 2 erupted tusks are seen."

[4] states "Almost all male narwhals have a tusk, but only about 15 percent of female narwhals do." (this suggests there has been a scientific study to determine this)] states "While both male and female narwhals can grow tusks, generally only male narwhals do so." And "When the occasional female narwhal grows a tusk, the female narwhal tusk tends to be much smaller than the male narwhal tusk, with a less pronounced spiral."

[5] states "In most females the teeth never erupt through the gum."

Which is true?__DrChrissy (talk) 17:28, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

According to Grzimek's:

Belugas have rows of eight or nine simple, peg-like teeth in both upper and lower jaws, while narwhals have no erupted teeth within the buccal cavity. Rather, they have only two pairs of maxillary teeth, all of which remain concealed within the jaws of females. In males, one of the teeth in the left side of the upper jaw erupts and protrudes forward from the front of the head, as the leftward-spiraled "unicorn" tusk for which the narwhal is famous. The tusk can be nearly 10 ft (3 m) long and weigh more than 20 lb (10.5 kg). Some males have two tusks ("double-tuskers") but the left member of the pair is often larger.

So my guess is males only.
--Fama Clamosa (talk) 17:55, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
I concur. Combining all the sources together it's pretty clear that while male and female narwhals each grow teeth in their jaws, the teeth generally don't erupt through their gums. In males typically (but not always) a left tooth grows quite long in a pronounced spiral as a tusk, though sometimes also (or perhaps more rarely instead) a right tooth does so. In females sometimes a tooth (probably only at most one) erupts, but grows much shorter and less spiral than male tusks do.
If we have an actual cited scientific study stating any of these facts, especially if more precise numbers than the relative "typically" or "rarely", we can revise the article to include it. DocRuby (talk) 15:02, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the input. I will edit the article indicating there is some dispute about this. Let me know what you think, or feel free to further edit.__DrChrissy (talk) 16:41, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
What specifically in the current Wikipedia article do you think is disputed, and where is the citeworthy source disputing it? DocRuby (talk) 18:38, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
Prior to my edit, the article states "Female narwhals have a shorter, and straighter tusk.". It makes no mention that effectively, only males have a tusk. I have edited the article to indicate this. The original section was not incorrect but was misleading.__DrChrissy (talk) 19:38, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
Your edit and its citations seem reasonable to me. DocRuby (talk) 22:01, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Common name[edit]

I do love the complication of the common name of the animal. However the common name is simply derived from a common shortening of North as "Nar" or "Nor" and the mispronunciation or contemporary pronunciation/spelling of the word "whale." The animal is simply put, a North Whale as the common name implies. The norse name is completely undocumented and unknown. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:41, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

Says who? It's called narhval in Danish, which is hardly derived from English. Though the other way around has happened with many words. FunkMonk (talk) 14:05, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

Climate Change[edit]

Should almot 50% of this article really be about climate change? It seems like the non-climate change info is sparse and then the environmental bit is excessively fleshed out. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:12, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

No, it should not. - Ac44ck (talk) 07:23, 15 December 2013 (UTC)::
The climate change section repeats things that are in the "Life span and mortality" and seems to be unfocused (discussing killer whale predation, ect). LittleJerry (talk) 13:47, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
If you want, I can remove repeated information, and create a new section for predation? IJReid (talk) 13:55, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
Okay then, I say we limit predation to natural predators (and keep in behavior). Humans caused threats like climate change can be part of conservation. LittleJerry (talk) 14:00, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
I have done a google scholar search [6], and found many references that could help expand the article. IJReid (talk) 00:07, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]


for dead URLs

This review is transcluded from Talk:Narwhal/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Cwmhiraeth (talk · contribs) 05:04, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

  • I propose to take on this review. At first inspection this appears to be a well-written and well-referenced article and I will look at it in detail in the next day or two. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 05:04, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

First reading[edit]

  • Where you have a word such as "melon" or "advection" that is unfamiliar to many readers, it is useful to provide a brief explanation so that they don't have to click through.
Explained. (@LittleJerry: I think I need your help for the fifth comment)
  • "... a separate clade which diverged from the Delphinoidea within the past 11 million years." - If they are part of Delphinoidea they can't have diverged from it!
Diverged from the rest of it.
  • "Narwhals do not have a dorsal fin, possibly an evolutionary adaptation to swimming easily under ice. Its neck ..." - You need to make the description section either singular or plural, but not mix the two.
made all plural, unless it is specifically talking about one individual (eg. female with two tusks).
  • Think about your dimensions and their equivalents in imperial measure. For example, for "lengths from 1.5 to 3.1 m (4 ft 11 in to 10 ft 2 in)" I would prefer "lengths from about 1.5 to 3 m (5 to 10 ft)".
I think I have fixed those.
  • "... some narwhals have a second, small tooth." - This seems to contradict what goes before and needs more explanation.
Removed. LittleJerry (talk) 19:36, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
  • I think the paragraph about the use of the narwhal tusk places too much emphasis on what was previously thought to be its function and the modern view. (Query, not part of the review, if the tusk is primarily a sensory organ, why don't all females have them?)
address both concerns. LittleJerry (talk) 19:58, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
  • The blow-hole is mentioned under communication but not elsewhere. Surfacing to breath must be an important part of this animal's life?
I don't think this is necessary since all cetaceans have these. I would not see the need to mention nostrils on land mammals. LittleJerry (talk) 19:36, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Starvation can also threaten their lives, especially in young whales." - This sentence is not very grammatical.
fixed now
  • "Narwhals that have been brought into captivity tend to die of natural causes." - I think you really mean that they are difficult to keep in captivity.
done. LittleJerry (talk) 19:36, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "One study found that many metals are low in abundance ..." - Perhaps "have low concentrations ..."
done. LittleJerry (talk) 19:36, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Narwhals are one of the most vulnerable Arctic marine mammals to climate change. One of the aspects that make narwhals vulnerable to climate change is ..." - You could combine these sentences.
done. LittleJerry (talk) 19:36, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Scientists urge assessment of population numbers and the assignment of sustainable quotas for stocks of as well as the collaboration of management agreements to ensure local acceptance." - This sentence is a bit muddled.
fixed. LittleJerry (talk) 20:05, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Some of the references lack access dates and/or page numbers.
Not really important for GA. LittleJerry (talk) 19:58, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
The article is looking pretty good. That's all I have time for at the moment. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 10:41, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Queen Elizabeth received a carved and bejewelled narwhal tusk for £10,000" - I think you should say Queen Elizabeth I, but there are other problems with this sentence. Do yo mean "worth £10,000"? The reference seems to be a conversion calculator, not a reference for the main fact.
Fixed ref, will notify once the rest is done. Fixed
  • "... a narwhal tusk hung for "a long period" in Windsor Castle after Sir Martin Frobisher had given it to Queen Elizabeth." - The same tusk as mentioned previously presumably?
Actually, no.
So Queen Elizabeth I had two narwhal's tusks did she? Cwmhiraeth (talk) 10:52, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
A couple more points. I will consider the lead section later. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 09:32, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
  • In the lead you mention that the narwhal is "the animal with the largest canines". - This does not appear in the body of the text and needs a source. Nor is it correct, stated in that way, because most narwhals have a single tusk.
Fixed wording, "possesses a large "tusk" made from a protruding canine tooth"
  • "It lives year-round in the Arctic." - Does it live exclusively in the article or does it sometimes range further south?
Hehehe, not the "article", the "arctic" (Haven't fixed yet, had to point the above out though)
Careless of me! Cwmhiraeth (talk) 19:20, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
  • "For both genders, including the male's tusk, the total body size can range from 3.95 to 5.5 metres" - I think you mean excluding.
  • "At around 11 to 13 years old, the males become sexually mature; females become sexually mature at about 5 to 8 years old."- This sentence structure could be improved.
Split into two sentences to help with flow problem
  • "In the winter, the male narwhals occasionally dive up to 1,500 metres (4,900 feet) in depth," - You have already given this information earlier in the paragraph.
Removed earlier mention
  • "They are often killed when the sea ice freezes over and they cannot breathe." - Killed by whom? It sounds as if humans are involved!

Cwmhiraeth (talk) 10:52, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

Hello Cwmhiraeth, I have fixed all the comments, any more before the article is ready for GA? IJReid (talk) 14:18, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

GA Criteria[edit]

  • 1a The article is well written and certain improvements to the prose have been made during the course of this review.
  • 1b The article conforms with the MOS guidelines as to layout and section headings etc.
  • 2a&b The article is well referenced and has inline citations for all contentious statements.
  • 2c There is no original research as far as I can see.
  • 3a&b The coverage is broad enough and the article does not include irrelevant material.
  • 4 The article is neutral
  • 5 The article has been worked on harmoniously by several people in the last month or so.
  • 6 The images are either in the public domain or have appropriate licences. (I'm not sure about the video clip's status.)
  • 7 The images are relevant to the topic and have suitable captions.
  • Overall assessment - Pass.

Narwhal lifespan and dive depth/time[edit]

Narwhals live longer than the 50 years written of here. Also they have recently been found to dive deeper (occaisionally) than spoken of here. The longest lived Narwhal known is at least 115 years old, and they can probably live longer than that, as they have been difficult to track and study. Other facts: The Eastern Greenland population is distinct and separated from the other populations and is believed to have been this way for about 10,000 years. I doubt the veracity of this last claim due to Narwhal hunting accounts at the tip of Greenland and elsewhere where the southern advance of winter ice would have made their ranges overlap with the Western Greenland populations. That said, they are somewhat genetically distinct. The Northern Hudson bay population doesn't seem to go North to the Northern Baffin Island wintering grounds, but is not genetically distinct from the population there. Within pods they segregate by age and gender. When narwhals die they quickly sink due to their collapsible rib cages. People shoot them and then don't get them. This doesn't work, so if you must hunt them, at least don't shoot them, use a harpoon. Many times more Narwhals are killed than are reported to fill the quotas due to this, as it is rare to successfully take one with a rifle.

Here's a fun lecture account from a man who went on an expedition to study them: Todd McLeish on Narwhals — Aquarium Lecture Series [6] [7]

This is the first thing I've ever written on Wikipedia so please forgive me if I've formatted anything wrong, etc. Ebonnyman (talk) 18:14, 30 March 2014 (UTC)ebonnyman

Thanks for that but please note that talk pages are for discussing specific improvements, not forums for general discussion or personal opinion.--Charles (talk) 19:06, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

Nharwhals are stoopi[8]d!!! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:11, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ When the Whales Came in the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ Why the Whales Came by Michael Morpurgo, in Reading Matters
  3. ^ Leelu the Narwhal
  4. ^ [7]
  5. ^ a b "Appendix II" of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). As amended by the Conference of the Parties in 1985, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2008. Effective: 5th March 2009.
  6. ^ 1
  7. ^ 2
  8. ^ me