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Narwhal Hearts Beat Slowly in Panic


The narwhal is among the more introverted of marine mammals. It lives in polar regions where life is quiet. But the species is in for a rude awakening. New research conducted by Terrie Williams, an ecophysiologist at UC Santa Cruz, Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen, a marine biologist from the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources in Nuuk, and a team of other scientists may shed some light on how narwhals may react to the growing human presence. Unfortunately, the researchers think there may be cause for concern. It seems that when narwhals face some kind of danger, they exhibit the seemingly contradictory response of lowering their heart rate even while fleeing from danger. 

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