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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Monodon monoceros

In the very near future I will be working near a Narwhal tusk.

Narwhals are sometimes called sea unicorns because of the enormous tusk that grows from the upper jaw in males. Some scientists have speculated that narwhal tusks, which can grow almost as long as three meters (about 10 feet), might be enormous sensory organs that can detect subtle changes in temperature and pressure.

A Magical Cup?
In the Middle Ages, narwhal tusks were widely thought to be unicorn horns with magical, curative properties. Indeed, cups made from narwhal tusks (above) were thought to neutralize poisons and were highly valued. Elizabeth I, Queen of England in the 1500s, is said to have owned a tusk worth 10,000 pounds, the price of a castle.

Throughout history, the narwhal tooth has inspired legend and lore. So prized was the fabled tooth of the unicorn that Queen Elizabeth in the 16th century paid 10,000 pounds for one, equivalent to the cost of an entire castle. The tooth is revered by many cultures around the world. In Japan, two crossed narwhal teeth adorn the entrance to the Korninkaku Palace. In Denmark multiple teeth comprise the frame. The royal scepter in England is made from the rare tusk.


Kitty Stampede said...

i <3 narwhals. but i've never seen one in person. take photos please.