The polar bear has become an icon of global warming vulnerability, but a new study found an Arctic mammal that may be even more at risk to climate change: the narwhal.
The narwhal, a whale with a long spiral tusk that inspired the myth of the unicorn, edged out the polar bear for the ranking of most potentially vulnerable in a climate change risk analysis of Arctic marine mammals.
The study was published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Ecological Applications. Polar bears are considered marine mammals because they are dependent on the water and are included as a species in the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act.
The narwhal is an ugly little beast. Don't expect environmentalists to throw the polar bear overboard in favor of it.