Narwhal: Revealing an Arctic Legend

Mikkel H. Post, Natural History Museum of Denmark
May 8, 2017
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Narwhal skull
Mikkel H. Post, Natural History Museum of Denmark

As temperatures increase and ice melts throughout the Arctic, many species are migrating north and sharing habitats. Sometimes, closely related species mate and produce hybrid offspring. This skull comes from a “narluga,” or narwhal-beluga hybrid, captured in Greenland. It has a particularly large head and some erupted teeth—but unlike a beluga’s flat, peg-like teeth, they are shaped like tiny narwhal tusks. Narwhals and other Arctic species are remarkably adapted to their cold, harsh habitat. As the global climate warms and ice cover declines, they are changing their behaviors in ways that affect their entire food web.

Mikkel H. Post, Natural History Museum of Denmark