Five things about the narwhal tusk donated to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Madam Hoo Miew Oon (left) and her husband Yap Boh Lee with the rare narwhal tusk that was donated to the new Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum on 18 June 2014. The narwhal tusk, which is at least 200 years old, had belonged to her great-grandfath
Madam Hoo Miew Oon (left) and her husband Yap Boh Lee with the rare narwhal tusk that was donated to the new Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum on 18 June 2014. The narwhal tusk, which is at least 200 years old, had belonged to her great-grandfather, businessman “Whampoa” Hoo Ah Kay, one of Singapore’s pioneers of the 1800s. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LUI

On Wednesday, a rare, nine-foot-long (2.7m) narwhal tusk was donated to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum by Madam Hoo Miew Oon, 79, a great-grand-daughter of early Singapore pioneer "Whampoa" Hoo Ah Kay.

The tusk will be displayed in the museum for public viewing when it opens in the first quarter of next year.

Here are five things about the tusk and the bewildering-looking creature it belongs to.

1. The tusk is a male narwhal's one extremely long tooth, which scientists believe it uses as part of mating rituals and to display dominance over rival suitors.

2. At 2.7m, the museum's new acquisition is as tall as the tallest human being ever to have lived.

3. The specimen is uncommon and would have belonged to a large, mature male - narwhal tusks only grow as long as 10 feet (3m).

4. About 75,000 narwhals, a species of whale, still live in waters around the Arctic circle.

5. The tusk was given to Whampoa by the Russian government in the 1860s as a gift, as he represented them as consul in Singapore.