A man found a $65,000 piece of ambergris, better known as whale vomit, while walking his dog along the shore in England.
Ambergris is rare and expensive. Found in sperm whales, the digestive remains of the animal are used in the fragrance industry as an ingredient in perfumes.
The man, Ken Willman, was walking his dog when the animal began poking at the object. At first he left the unusual object alone. Them, something inside him told him to go back.
Willman spoke with BBC about his $65,000 find of whale vomit:
“When I picked it up and smelled it I put it back down again and I thought ‘urgh’. It has a musky smell, but the more you smell it the nicer the smell becomes.”
Willman has already found a French buyer. Once his ambergris is authenticated, the deal can be completed.
Ambergris is thought by scientists to be used in whale digestion, particularly in digesting the beaks of giant squid, a known food for sperm whales.
Andrew Kitchener, principal curator of vertebrates at the National Museum of Scotland, also spoke to BBC:
“It’s a very important base for perfumes and it’s hard to find any artificial substitute for it. Over time it becomes a much sweeter smell as it oxidizes, but initially it doesn’t smell very nice.”
For Ken Willman it could not be a happier discovery, even if it is initially disgusting to think about. The only question he has left to answer is what he plans to do with his money.
What would you buy if you found a $65,000 piece of whale vomit along the shore?
[image via Wikimedia Commons]