Narwhals: Fact Or Fiction?

Narwhals: Fact Or Fiction?

Could the unicorn of the sea really be a hoax?
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As my move-in day for college draws closer, I find myself losing sleep due to a mixture of excitement and anxiety. During these sleepless nights, I've begun diving down a strange section of the internet - the black hole of conspiracy theories. Sure, a fair amount of the content I've perused consists of crazy ramblings about celebrities secretly living as reptilian creatures wearing human flesh, but a few caught my attention. Specifically, one of the least talked about theories I've discovered. Lurking on the internet is a small group of people who believe that narwhals, the unicorns of the sea, have never existed. Before you click out of this article, hear me out. While I won't divulge into my personal thoughts on the subject, I'll go ahead and present the thoughts from both sides and allow you to pick your own. It should be noted that most conspiracy theories, such as this one, are to be taken lightly, and have no serious implications in our day to day lives. That being said, to start off, we'll analyze the beliefs of those who believe narwhals exist.

This first position almost seems self-explanatory. You may find yourself thinking, of COURSE they exist! The commonly held belief, both in the scientific and pedestrian fields, is that narwhals are just as real as the pets we having living alongside us. After all, major names including National Geographic and WWF have run stories on the creatures. In WWF's "Unicorn of the Sea: Narwhal Facts" article, the organization shares basic facts and statistics on the creatures, and even mentions the satellite tracking system they use to monitor the endangered species. A link at the bottom of the article transfers readers to an even more extensive narwhal page, featuring migration paths and a few more statistics. Scientists know quite a bit about narwhals and their existence. The biggest claim for those who believe in narwhals is that they have common sense on their side. Everything published about the species point to their existence.

Then, the group of doubters enters the scene. I first heard of the theory from a video on YouTube. A channel named Super Carlin Brothers posted a video entitled "Are Narwhals Real?!" just over three years ago. The content itself is only three minutes long, and the main purpose of the video seems to be mere entertainment, but it still gets viewers thinking.

Jon argues that if any sort of animal were to be made up as a hoax, the narwhal seems to be a likely candidate. All it would take is some basic photo editing skills to add a horn to a whale. As the narwhal is "supposedly" a member of the whale family, this may not be a far stretch. The unicorn, a clearly fictional creature, is simply composed of a horse with a horn photoshopped on. Realistic images and footage of fictional creatures exist, and it isn't out of the realm of possibility that somebody could create footage of a fake creature and attempt to pass it off as authentic. Another argument from the doubters is that narwhals have never been seen in any zoo or aquarium. In fact, most people don't know anyone who has even seen a real narwhal face to face. For those who are skeptical of the narwhal's existence, seeing IS believing. The fact that extensive scientific evidence exists regarding the narwhal doesn't frighten this position either. Plenty has been written describing mystical creatures as well. J.K. Rowling delves deep into the world of mythical creatures and their care in her writing revolving around the Potter universe. Making up facts also lies within the realm of possibility.

Now, despite all this, someone would need a motive for faking an entire species. If you visit WWF website, you'll find a donate button on the page for narwhal preservation. Monetary gain, while not particularly impressive, would be a benefit to inventing a fictitious species. The power to convince the world that a nonexistent creature exists is also tempting, if possible to pull off. While they may not have science on their side, those who doubt raise some legitimate points.

When all is said and done, it's up to you to decide where you lie in the narwhal debate. Do they really exist, as we've been told, or is there a worldwide hoax happening right before our own eyes?Even if the discussion may be irrelevant or silly, it makes for excellent conversation and hilarious debate, no matter what you believe.



Cover Image Credit: WWF

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30 Bee Puns To Get You Through The Day

These puns are as sweet as honey.
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There are few things in life that make me happier (and/or make me want to bury my face in my hands and groan loudly) than a well timed pun. This goes double if the pun involves some my favorite insects — bees. There's nothing quite as satisfying as uttering a bee pun when no one expects it, so here is a list of the top 30 bee puns around!

Use these puns to make your grandparents laugh, impress your date, spice up your Tinder profile, make friends with a beekeeper, break the ice at your new job or make everyone in the general vicinity wish they hadn't invited you to come hang out with them. You won't bee-lieve how many of these puns you'll be pollen for! You'll bee-come an instant hit at parties! You'll bee sure to thank me later.

1. "When a bee is in your hand, what's in your eye? Beauty. Because beauty is in the eye of the bee-holder."

2. "Bee puns really sting.

3. "Who's a bee's favorite singer? Bee-yoncé."

4. "What's a happy bumblebee's blood type? Bee positive!"


5. "Bee puns aren't that great. I don't get what all the buzz is about."

6. "Wasp are you talking about?"


7. "Naughty bee children really need to beehive."

8. "What kind of bees drop things? Fumble bees!"

9. "A bee's favorite haircut is a buzz cut!"

10. "What do you call a bee that's a sore loser? A cry bay-bee!"


11. "What's a bee's favorite flower? Bee-gonias!"

12. "Why do bees get married? Because they found their honey!"


13. "That bee is talking too quietly, it must be a mumble-bee!"

14. "Bee children take the school buzz to get to school."

15. "A bee's favorite sport is rug-bee."

16. "The bees went on strike because they wanted more honey and less working flowers."


17. "On the first day of class, bee students are given a sylla-buzz."

18. "What did one bee say to the other when they landed on the same flower? Buzz off."

19. "Who's a bee's favorite painter? Pablo Bee-casso!"

20. "A bee styles their hair with a honeycomb."

21. "When a bee writes a sonnet, they're waxing poetic."

22. "The worker bee decided to take a vacation to Stingapore last year."

23. "A bee that's been put under a spell has been bee-witched!"

24. "Say, these bee puns aren't too shab-bee."

25. "That pretentious wasp is just plain snob-bee!"

26. "Why did the bee want to use the phone? To say hi to their honey."

27. "A bee's favorite novel is the Great Gats-bee."


28. "What's a bee's favorite Spice Girls song? Wanna-bee!"

29. "What do bees like with their sushi? Wasa-bee!"

30. "Remember, bee puns are good for your health, they give you a dose of Vitamin Bee!"

Cover Image Credit: Fanaru

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It’s More Than Just High And Low Tides In Florida

Wildlife is dying. Businesses are failing. Emergency rooms are filling. Here's everything you need to know about Red Tide.

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Unless you're a Floridian, it's highly unlikely that you've heard about the state of emergency that is spreading across southwest Florida. On Tuesday, August 14, 2018, Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for seven counties that are home to beaches that line the Gulf of Mexico.

Want to know more? Whether you're the Floridian who avoids the news outlets for particular reasons, those that shall not be named, or an out-of-state inquirer who is questioning why Grandma said not to visit this summer, here's some info that'll help you to understand what exactly is going on down south in this crazy state.

1. What the hell is happening?

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Each year, toxic algae grow hundreds of miles off of the coast of southwest Florida. These microscopic single-celled organisms, known as Karenia Brevis or K. Brevis, grow in what are known as algae blooms that are red in pigment and cause the water to turn brown, leading to the phenomenon's title, Red Tide. These algae can only grow in salt water and are nourished by the nutrients that come from common land fertilizers.

This year, the algae came to shore due to winds and currents in the Gulf of Mexico. Its toxicity increases as it reaches the coast. As waves break, the toxins to enter the airstream, increasing health risk for humans. Whether consuming as food or simply ingesting through breathing, marine life is severely affected by these toxic algae. Florida is enduring its tenth month with Red Tide killing the marine life and deteriorating the economy. The recently increased intensity of this outbreak has caused Gov. Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency.

2. Uh…what’s a state of emergency again?

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A state of emergency is a period that is declared by government officials after a disaster that often suspends constitutional law and request funding for damages. Ranging from Tampa Bay to the tip of the Everglades, "Scott promised $1.5 million in emergency funding" (The Washington Post, 2018). These funds will contribute to clean-up, the tourism economy, and wildlife research and rescue. This state of emergency is established to prevent the potential collapse of an entire community.

3. Oh! It's that green slime goop from the lake!

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You may have also seen another Florida body of water experiencing some unusual discoloration. Lake Okeechobee has become covered in what looks like Nickelodeon slime. Located in the center of the state near significant farmlands, Lake Okeechobee also experienced an influx of microscopic algae caused by nutrients found in fertilizers. The blue-green algae growing in this major lake is not the same as K. Brevis and it is not what caused Red Tide. As previously stated, the growth of red algae is a naturally occurring phenomenon. It is possible, however, that the run-off of Lake Okeechobee into the Gulf of Mexico has contributed to the growth and recent intensification of Red Tide.

4. Hold on – did you say that wildlife is in danger?

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Yes…grab your Kleenex. Thousands of fish, hundreds of sea turtles and manatees, many dolphins, one whale shark, and now even birds have died from this toxic alga. The algae both suck up the oxygen from the water and get stuck in gills, making it impossible for fish to breathe. More marine life is dying from the ingestion of the algae. Manatees, for example, come to the surface to breathe, the area that is most densely populated by K. Brevis. What makes matters worse? Sea turtles are members of the endangered species list and manatees were just moved from endangered to threatened last year. Unfortunately, there is no way to stop these animals from suffering the effects of Red Tide.

5. I guess I may as well ask…how are the people?

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Marine life is not the only thing that is crippled by Red Tide. The economies of the seven counties lining the currently affected coast of the Gulf of Mexico has plummeted. Tourism has reached level lows. From the declared state of emergency, "Florida's tourism agency will receive $500,000 to create an emergency grant program to help communities promote travel to the affected areas" (USA Today, 2018).

Additionally, residents are suffering from health issues. Breathing in the polluted air can cause tearing, burning, and itching of the eyes, nose, and throat. Ingesting contaminated shellfish can cause severe gastrointestinal issues. Many residents have chosen to leave town to avoid these health damages and any further consequences that may come of Red Tide.

6. Alright, I’m in! How can I help?

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Unfortunately, there is not much that people can do to stop Red Tide. Since it is naturally occurring, the algae growth will occur each year. In its current state, however, as one of the most significant occurrences seen throughout history, 2018's Red Tide is continuing to spread and continuing to alarm scientists, experts, and locals of the affected areas.

While there are predictions that Lake Okeechobee water run-off has fueled the fire, no data is proving this predicted correlation. Regarding causation, global warming and last year's devastating hurricane season have also been considered in causing a particularly bad case of Red Tide this year. With global warming comes higher water temperatures, inviting algae and bacteria growth. The hurricane season could have also caused shifting wind patterns and adjusting tides. It is crucial to continue reducing, reusing, and recycling. Additionally, protect marine life by eliminating your use of plastic straws!

I think it's easy to tell, but, I've got to say, it's a pretty bad situation. My family and I have been fortunate to spend summers on the southwest coast of Florida for a total of thirty-five years. This year, however, was a completely different experience. Lacking tourism, out-of-business shops, and eye-tearing scenes of dead sea life – for more reasons than one! What strikes me most is how little there is that we can do. This year's Red Tide is perplexing scientists and confusing experts. All in all, no one is certain how long this will last and how harmful the ending effects will be.

Watch out, Miami! It might be coming for you!

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