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At present the Circumpolar North provides a unique laboratory for studying future landscapes of production, infrastructure, excavation, and environmental change. More »

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Narwhal class

We are a class. A species. We are one. But most people do not know very much about us. They rarely focus on smaller members of my mammalian family of whales. People ride boats to watch the tail fins and gigantic plumes of air and spray. No lamps burning with whale fat today.

We are the small, slightly mysterious and elusive small cousins. Dive deep and survive if you ask me!

We have not been hunted by gigantic factory ships. We are living legends of another sort, but legends all the same, mammals loved by human hunters, the reach of harpoons replaced by long lenses.

We are the stuff of bedroom wall educational film and a lovely poster by David Attenborough.

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We are braided into Inuit narratives.

In summer we gather in pods, giant groups of gendered togetherness. Off the coast of Greenland we are enormous in our assembled community.

We are not alone in our species. Ok, granted, we are smaller than our relatives. But we are no less powerful. Our telomeres are longer. We dive and swim at length, under the ice.

You might be forgiven for thinking I’m mixing up the details of the subclass of submarines called the Narwhal. A specially crafted device for underwater explorations. A strategic entity repeated.

But I am a lone techno-cultural hybrid. There are I see pages being published about human-animal-machine splicings. Science, art, robotics.

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