Arctic Climate Change and Fossil Fuel Pollution is Altering Narwhal Tusks

0
663

Study of Narwhal Tusks Reveals a Swiftly Changing Arctic

By Alex Fox/Smithsonianmag.com

Male narwhals grow spiraling tusks throughout their lives that can reach lengths of up to ten feet. Now, analysis of these tusks reveals narwhals in the Arctic are altering their diets as climate change reduces the extent of sea ice. Warming and fossil fuel pollution may also be contributing to a large increase in concentrations of the toxic heavy metal mercury accumulating in the whales’ bodies, reports Molly Taft for Gizmodo.

The research, published last month in the journal Current Biology, looked at the chemical composition of ten tusks from whales killed by Inuit subsistence hunters off the coast of northwest Greenland, reports Ellie Shechet for Popular Science.



Since a narwhal’s tusk, which is actually a specialized tooth, grows in annual layers like the rings of a tree trunk, researchers can study the layers to look back in time, reports Matt Simon for Wired.

“Each of the individual layers in a tree gives you a lot of information about the condition of the tree in that year of growth,” Jean-Pierre Desforges, a wildlife toxicologist at McGill University, tells Gizmodo. “It’s the exact same way with a narwhal tusk.

Read More:

ATTENTION READERS

We See The World From All Sides and Want YOU To Be Fully Informed
In fact, intentional disinformation is a disgraceful scourge in media today. So to assuage any possible errant incorrect information posted herein, we strongly encourage you to seek corroboration from other non-VT sources before forming an educated opinion.

About VT - Policies & Disclosures - Comment Policy
Due to the nature of uncensored content posted by VT's fully independent international writers, VT cannot guarantee absolute validity. All content is owned by the author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images are the full responsibility of the article author and NOT VT.