Thursday, March 30, 2006
Martin Nweeia noticed the sound. In May 2000, spring was just reaching Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic and he looked out on the those tusk-bearing, high-Arctic whales. "I was sitting on a bucket out on the ice doing polar bear watch," he says. "Then, I heard the breathing."
10 narwhals that had risen to the surface out in the open water. Their heavy, low-frequency, methodical breaths carried through the night as if "they were breathing in my ear,"
Many people have searched for narwhals, but Nweeia may be the only Connecticut dentist to have done so. He practices at Harvard School of Dental Medicine in Boston. And what's there for a dentist not to love about an animal with a 3-meter-long tooth—and the only spiraling tooth ever reported? The left tooth of a male narwhal develops into a tusk several meters long. It's the only tooth known to spiral. The narwhal tooth is what collectors in bygone centuries got when they bought a unicorn horn.
Posted by Chris Perridas at 7:59 AM