The fantasies surrounding the discovery of the narwhal best symbolize this state of affairs. Indeed, the narwhal was discovered by Westerners while exploring North America. This animal then became particularly popular because of its horn, reminiscent of that of the mythical unicorn. The length of the latter was unparalleled among known species. These horns were therefore presented in cabinets of curiosities as evidence of the existence of legendary animals.
Today the figure of the narwhal has been debunked. These animals are known, observed, approached and photographed. They live in groups in arctic waters and migrate seasonally to escape the formation of glaciers. Their twisted tusks, once the fruit of legends, are now photogenic and photographed objects. They are captured, protruding from the ocean like sharp pikes.