Martin Nweeia

NarwhalDoc Martin Nweeia

The US dentist Martin Nweeia has a rather extraordinary challenge: He studies the spiral tusk of this “Unicorn of the seas”.

He managed to perform several expeditions to Canada and the Arctic together with other teams of scientists to reveal secrets about
this animal. Nweeia says: It is the only known straight tusk and the only one in spiral shape. It has been extremely flexible and hard in tests. 


Male Narwhals have tusks up to 2,5 meters, females do not have one. Nweeia’s hypothesis: “I believe the tusk is a kind of sensor. It has to do with detecting food.” To verificate this he equips some Narwhals with sensors in their tusk……



My favorite experience in the field came one night in a remote area of the Amazon basin after living among the Ticuna Indians. I had been conducting a dental study there and felt as if I was viewed as a curiosity. Although respected, I wondered if I was liked. Then, one night, there were two children in an open hut who were spontaneously dancing and singing, and the child in me decided to join in. Time was lost as we continued to sing and dance, and the children became more animated and joyful as did I. After what seemed like an hour or so, someone tapped me on the back and said, “Have you looked around the hut?” There in the surrounding darkness were the facial outlines of the entire village who quietly gathered and sat to watch this display. From that day on, only smiles came from those who passed my way.


What are your other passions?

Music composing, windsurfing, singing and finding ways to touch other people’s lives are passions. Since passion is connected to love, my main passion is finding ways to help others. I’ve been involved with several health organizations, foundations, and groups devoted to giving back and helping those less fortunate. While living in Hawaii, I composed and directed a music project that benefited Hawaii’s homeless families with children. I’ve served as dental director of a Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, a medical service ship in the Marshall Islands, and several church-based groups in Connecticut.

National Geographic



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