Built like a torpedo with a massive shell on the front end to penetrate a dense object, the bowhead whale is uniquely adapted to live in the Arctic Ocean and nearby waters. Living under the frozen ice, the bowhead whale evolved without a dorsal fin, which would only scrape and get injured against the thick Arctic ice above. Being a mammal, bowhead whales need to breathe air just like humans do. The ice in the Arctic Ocean can be several feet thick, so the bowhead whale evolved with a massive head that it used like a torpedo or battering ram to punch through the ice up to 6 feet thick.
Aiding the whale in the frozen water is a layer of blubber that is at least 1.5 feet thick (0.5 m). Not only does the thick layer keep the whale from freezing, it also helps provide protection for their head when breaking through the ice.
Due to the violence of breaking through the ice, many bowhead whales have a great deal of scarring on their head.