Microstructure analysis of the tusk yields new findings.
Dr. James Mead is referring to the following images of electron microscopy that were obtained by collaborators at the Paffenbarger Research Center. The images supplied by Anthony Giusepetti and the team led by Dr. Frederick Eichmiller and Dr. Naomi Edelman provided a new look at the unique structure. Though other scanning electron microscopic images have been performed of narwhal tusk, none, to our knowledge, was completed on freshly harvested tusk tissue still containing the layers of algae and diatoms associated with them. These images led to and supported the hydrodynamic theory discussed in the abstract by Dr. Nweeia, et al prepared for the 16th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals in San Diego, California. Many prior reports of whale teeth have been undertaken with dried specimens, typically preserved or analyzed months or years after harvesting. The value of examining such tissue soon after it was obtained, demonstrates the unique characteristics viewed that would otherwise not be recorded. Though the Principle Investigator was trained and certified in most aspects of HAZMAT collections and transport internationally, ongoing analysis will be completed more often in the field.
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