In Search of the “Unicorn of the Sea”

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Salisbury’s Joseph Meehan related his adventures as expedition photographer on several trips to the Arctic and Greenland to study the “Unicorn of the Sea” to an attentive audience in Noble’s Community Room on March 3.

The so-called unicorn is, in fact, the narwhal, a small whale distinguished by a pike-like tooth as much as 9’ long protruding from its jaw. It’s actually, he said, a very sensitive organ that can detect changes in temperature and in the chemical make-up of its environment, which is believed to help the narwhal in finding food and mates.

Recent interest in the narwhal has been spurred in great part by Sharon dentist Dr. Martin Nweeia who led these and other scientific expeditions. An exhibit on the narwhal featuring Meehan’s photographs is currently at the Smithsonian in Washington.

Joe Meehan, a noted photographer and teacher, has written many books, including the first authoritative book on panoramic photography. Those who can’t make the Smithsonian exhibition can learn about this fascinating animal at narwhal.org.

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