Norsemen gave it the name because they thought the whale's blotched skin resembles the gray pallor of a drowned man, according to The New York Times. Katherine Rundell wrote for the London Review of Books that The narwhal is exquisitely formed. To conserve heat, the surface area of its skin is as streamlined as possible: no ears, no lips, no eyelashes, no inconveniently extruding sexual organs; nothing to hold back the swift passage through water, she wrote.After she tricked her blind son out of his fair share of meat, the son bound her to a whale, which dragged her out to sea. She never returned. Instead, she transformed into a narwhal, according to the legend.They use their tail fins to propel themselves upwards so that half of the whale can suddenly appear above the water. They often travel in groups of 30, but can swim in herds of 1,000 when they migrate, The New York Times reported.They've been given that name because of the way they move through the water, according to the New York Times.Vikings and Norsemen hunted narwhal. Traders, though, harnessed the then-commonly accepted falsehood — by Chinese, Greeks, and Romans — that unicorns existed.Monarchs also used it to save themselves from being assassinated with poison. This reputation led them to be worth their weight in gold.Ivan's narwhal horn staff was covered in diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. It was delivered to him, but it wasn't enough to save him, according to the London Review of Books.Austria's Kaiser Karl the Fifth is said to have paid off some national debt with two tusks, according to the New York Times. The Danish King's throne was built with narwhal tooth in the 17th century.It was valuable enough to purchase a castle, according to the New York Times. Adjusted for inflation, today it would be worth 2 million pounds ($2.63 million), according to the Washington Post.In a public lecture, a Danish scholar named Ole Wurm proved the substance came from narwhal and not unicorn, the New York Times reported. It took a little longer, but in the 18th century, British doctors ceased prescribing unicorn horn as a powdered elixir, according to Smithsonian Magazine. As the unicorn became a firm thing of myth, narwhal tusks became the focus.In Moby Dick, published in 1851, he wrote about the mysterious tusk: Some sailors tell me that the Narwhale employs it for a rake in turning over the bottom of the sea for food, Melville wrote. Charley Coffin said it was used for an ice-pierce … But you cannot prove either of these surmises to be correct. The tusk, Darwin surmised, allowed the narwhals to show their dominance over each other.The narwhal was flown 2,650 miles in a dramatic jet flight, according to Life Magazine, to Coney Island, after it was found following the hunters who killed its mother, the Indiana Herald reported. To keep it happy, the aquarium provided Umiak with a white whale as a substitute mother, according to the New York Times, but, alas, it wasn't enough.Even so, the narwhal remained a creature of intrigue. According to the Indiana Herald, which published a story about Umiak's brief period of captivity in 1970, probably no one has witnessed a more thrilling sight than two massive narwals jousting with their horns like knights of old.Unlike belugas, they can't be herded. They're skittish. And, importantly, while they can live for up to 100 years, according to Smithsonian Magazine, they die quickly when they're in captivity, as the New York Aquarium failure showed.They can descend a mile down into pitch-black, freezing water, according to London Review of Books. Here, bumps in the ice show where narwhals surfaced in thin ice to breathe, leaving an eerie imprint.In 2002, and again in 2003 and 2004, with help from Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans, he traveled to Baffin Island in Canada to gather narwhal specimens to analyze, the New York Times reported.Narwhal tusks can grow as thick as a lamppost and as a tall a man, according to Smithsonian Magazine. But they're not traditional tusks. They're actually teeth that grow rampantly until they pierce through the upper left of the whale's mouth, according to Canadian Wildlife Magazine, and continue growing up to 10 feet. Unlike elephants or walruses, their task grows straight.Inuits are allowed to hunt narwhals under international law.Originally, scientists thought that the tusk was a weapon used for fighting between males, or for piercing holes in the ice, the New York Times reported. Scientists have found a connection between testicle size and horn length, according to the London Review of Books. As for mating, it happens in the middle of winter, in absolute darkness, in temperatures down to -60 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Smithsonian Magazine. When Nweeia saw his first, he saw a dozen. He was sitting on an ice floe in the middle of the night. He told NPR, It was as if you had gone to some grand party where you were invisible. I felt like I shouldn't even talk or say anything or move just because I felt that if they somehow knew I had broken their trust that my opportunity would be gone.They discovered the tusks have about 10 million nerve endings along the surface, which they rub together to communicate, the New York Times reported. The tooth is almost inside-out. The sensitive nerves on the outside act as an antenna to sense prey and sea conditions. They can even detect air pressure. You can think of it as a weather station, Nweeisa told NPR.In 2008, according to Grist, the journal Ecological Applications found narwhals were at the top of the list for at-risk Arctic marine animals. Kristin Laidre, one of America's leading narwhal scientists, said in comparison to polar bears, they were not that cute.One of the key conventions is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which protects them. In the United States, it's illegal to commercially import narwhal. Low numbers of narwhal are still legally hunted in Canada and Greenland, according to the Globe and Mail.Smugglers make the most money reselling the tusks in countries where there are import bans, like the US, according to Canadian Wildlife Magazine.Between 2000 and 2010, Logan smuggled more than 250 tusks, worth as much as $3 million, according to Reuters. He was caught by a Canadian government agency, which titled the undercover mission Operation Longtooth, according to Canadian Wildlife Magazine.They were alerted at New York's JFK airport when customs found a package with a label that said tooth of white whale, referencing Moby Dick, according to Canadian Wildlife Magazine. The package was filled with whale teeth and led investigators to narwhal suppliers, and in turn to Logan. In 2017, he was sentenced to five years in prison.Mr. Narwhal said farewell to Buddy, the main character, as he left the North Pole to search for his father in New York City. Bye Buddy, hope you find your dad, he said. The character was voiced by director Jon Favreau.Part of the reason it was so expensive was that it had been owned by a sailor named Cornelius Fudge, who shares a name with a character in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels, the Washington Post reported. Rowling, despite being steeped in the history of her character's names, claims she had never heard of him. Utterly extraordinary, she wrote in a letter about it.In 2017, scientists discovered they use the tusk to whack fish, stunning them before eating.There were three kinds, according to the New Yorker. They make clicking and buzzing noises for navigation and for catching cod and shrimp. The sounds are helpful when they're hunting in deep, dark waters. The third type of noise is calling, which is how they talk to each other — it involves whistles, sonic pulses, and clicks.Climate change is their greatest threat since narwhals rely on their ice habitat. It's a place to feed and find refuge, especially from predators like orca whales. According to the London Review of Books, if the ice melts, there will be nowhere to hide and nowhere to feed.Since narwhals communicate with clicks, more ships and industrial extraction in the Arctic pose a massive threat. The increased sounds make the animals effectively mute and make it harder for them to protect their young, according to the London Review of Books.The tusk was displayed by a nearby doorway, and. The man, acted according to instinct, yet his brave gesture, with its knightly resonance, has an emblematic power and grabbed it, according to the Guardian. A five-foot tusk is an unusual weapon to wield in central London, and its appearance was covered widely by the media.