Researchers are hoping the huge tusks of the walrus and choppers of the beluga whale will help track the increasing impact of global warming on Canadian Arctic mammals and the Inuit communities that depend on the creatures for food.

Scientists with Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Winnipeg are preparing to study the teeth of mammals killed during Inuit hunts to look for any signs that greenhouse gases are taking a toll.

Although scientists have studied the teeth — which have annular rings similar to those of a tree trunk — for many years, this is the first time they are being used to unlock the impact climate change is having in the North.

Experts expect to find a growing number of contaminants like mercury and PCBs in the teeth, as well as evidence of a thinning diet — all attributable to the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.