Question: Why do Narwals have horns?

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  1. @xinz: Narwhal ‘horns’, or tusks, are actually a modified (changed) canine tooth that comes out from their mouth of the males at the left front of their face. The tusk is hollow and not very heavy – around 10kg, so heavy for a tooth! – but narwhals weight around 1000-1500kg, so not much to them! The tusk has nerves and is quite sensitive. It’s used in some social interactions and thought to link to hierarchy (who’s in charge), but little is known about it’s use outside of this. There haven’t been observations of it being used in a violent way, I suspect with all those nerves in there, it might be useful to them underwater detecting something… imagine the ice cream headache they must get in the very cold water they live with a big tooth sticking out! 🙂