29 July 2013

Narwhals - The Jedi Unicorn Warriors of the Sea

Narwhal via the Graphics Fairy

When my sister first told me about Narwhals I thought she was making it up. Unicorns living in the sea – can’t be possible. How would they breathe? In the forest, sure there are lots of unicorns playing in the meadows with the My Little Ponies, but in the sea, no way! Turns out they are real. I know because National Geographic says so and so it must be true. My sister wasn’t lying after all.

Now that we’ve decided to live on a boat full-time, we’ve been thinking about where we want to go next after New Zealand. I’m torn between going to Prince Edward Island (Anne of Green Gables fans can relate) or going out in search of the Narwhals. Scott thinks this whole Anne of Green Gables obsession is a bit too girly for him, so I thought chasing down the Narwhals might appeal more to his sense of adventure. So, before I start to plan out our Narwhal expedition, I thought I should find out a bit more about them as right now my knowledge is limited to the fact that they have giant unicorn horns sticking out of their heads. So through my extensive research, I found out that Narwhals invented shish kebab, are the Jedis of the sea and can beat polar bears in a fight. It’s true – check this You Tube documentary out.

Armed with this knowledge, I decided to take this Narwhal quiz. It is intended for sixth graders, so I figure I can pass.

1.    What does Narwhal mean in the Old Norse language?

Ellen’s Answer – Jedis of the Sea

The Quizmaster’s Answer – the corpse whale (Sounds gruesome, I like my answer better.)

2.    What color is an adult narwhal’s skin?

Ellen’s Answer – pink and purple like My Little Ponies

The Quizmaster’s Answer – bluish-gray with white blotches (Yuck, who wants a sea unicorn with blotchy skin!)

3.    The long projection in front of the Narwhal is not a horn. What is it?

Ellen’s Answer – Of course it is a horn, a unicorn horn.

The Quizmaster’s Answer – The male Narwhal has a long, hollow, spiral tooth that grows from the upper left jaw. The tusk is about 10 ft (3 m) long. Tusking is a behavior in which male narwhals rub their tusks together - perhaps determining dominance in the group. (Yawn - what a boring answer!)

4.    Narwhals are found near which pole?

Ellen’s Answer – I don’t know what you’re talking about. They hang out in the Caribbean where it is warm.

The Quizmaster’s Answer - Narwhals are social whales that live in small groups in frigid Arctic waters. (If they’re so social why don’t they come down to the Caribbean where there are more people to hang out with?)

5.    An adult Narwhal (body plus tusk) is about as long as how many 5 foot tall sixth graders?

Ellen’s Answer – I’m 5 foot tall. Does this mean I’m a sixth grader?

The Quizmaster’s Answer - Narwhals can grow to be about 16 feet long (not counting the tooth). Their spiral tooth can be up to 10 feet long. 16 feet plus 10 feet equals 26 feet. 26 feet divided by 5 foot tall sixth graders equals 5 full size sixth graders plus one 1 foot tall sixth grader. (Too much math for me!)

6.    An adult Narwhal is about as heavy as a bicycle, a person, a car or a jumbo jet?

Ellen’s Answer – They can take a polar bear in a fight, so I’m going to go with a jumbo jet.

The Quizmaster’s Answer – Narwhals weigh about 1.8 tons. About as much as a car. (I don’t know how much a car or a jumbo jet weigh, so I’ll have to take their word for it.)

7.    Like other whales, the Narwhal breathes through what?

Ellen’s Answer – Through their noses.

The Quizmaster’s Answer – Through their blowholes. (That’s just a fancy word for a whale nose.)

8.    Narwhal tusks used to be confused with the horn of what mythical animal?

Ellen’s Answer – This is a trick question. There are no mythical animals.

The Quizmaster’s Answer – Unicorns (The Quizmaster is delusional. Unicorns are real. Just ask the My Little Ponies.)

After completing this quiz, I’ve now kind of gone off of the Narwhal expedition. I’ve verified the Quizmaster’s answer to question 4 with National Geographic and unfortunately it looks like the Narwhals do live in the Arctic and not the Caribbean. I don’t like the cold, so I’ll wait until the Narwhals come to their senses and migrate to warmer climates. 

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  1. I think Dolphonies like warm water. You should try to find them

    1. Dolphonies rock!! For those that don't know, dolphonies are a hybrid species which originated in NZ. You take a dolphin and breed it with a My Little Pony and you get a dolphony! They have been known to be spotted swimming around Victoria Park.

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