Narwhals are whales, and super cool ones at that. But that cool thing coming out of their heads is a tusk, not a horn. Which means it’s a tooth! And it’s the only known spiral tooth to boot!

In this episode, we learn all about narwhals (what that tusk is for and how they’re connected to the myth of the unicorn) and the evolution of teeth (from scale-like nubbins to the versatile chompers we have today).

Plus our Moment of Um explores whether or not water has a taste.

Watch: Drone footage of narwhals

NOAA Ocean Explorer: Tracking Narwhals in Greenland
Pod of narwhals, northern Canada, August 2005.
NOAA/Image courtesy of Kristin Laidre.
A pod of narwhals
A pod of narwhals surface
Kristin Laidre
NOAA Ocean Explorer: Tracking Narwhals in Greenland
A pod of narwhals from northern Canada, August 2005.
NOAA/Image courtesy of Kristin Laidre.

This episode was originally published on October 10, 2017. You can hear that version here:

Narwhals: Unicorns of the sea?
by MPR