The unicorn of the sea just got a little less mysterious.
Until now, how narwhals used their long tusks had been subject to much speculation by scientists.
Behavior captured for the first time on camera shows narwhals using the long tusks protruding from their heads to stun Arctic cod by hitting them, using jagged, quick movements. This behavior immobilizes the fish, making them easier to prey upon.
The footage was shot by two drones in Tremblay Sound, Nunavat, in Canada’s far Northeastern regions by Adam Ravetch for the World Wildlife Fund Canada and researchers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Brandon Laforest, a senior specialist of Arctic species and ecosystems with WWF-Canada, explained why narwhals have been such a mysterious species.
‘They don’t jump like other whales. They are also notoriously skittish,” said Laforest. “This is an entirely new observation of how the tusk is used.’