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January 26, 2006

Million-Dollar Whale Vomit

Million-dollar whale vomit!

A STINKING, solidified lump of gunk from the gut of a sperm whale could make an Australian family up to $1 million richer.

The 14.75kg block of rare whale excreta, expelled orally, was found by the family on a beach near Streaky Bay on South Australia's west coast.

They were baffled by the substance before inquiries revealed it to be ambergris - a wax-like substance originating from the intestine of a sperm whale, and greatly prized for its use in perfume.

...

[A man advising the family] said the finding was rare. "When the whale throws this out, it's discarded material that it can't digest and includes all sorts of things like hundreds of squid beaks and goodness knows what," he said. "The substance is actually lighter than water and so it floats around the ocean.

"If you were to pick it up immediately after the whale discarded it, you would immediately put it back because it is so foul.

"However, over a period of floating around the ocean for 10 years, the sun and the salt water cleanses this amazing stuff. After 10 years, it's considered clean and all you are getting then is the wonderful musty, very sweet perfume which I have got to say is ultra-smooth.

"You can trace it back to 1000 BC. The Egyptians used it, the Chinese did - they not only used it as perfumes but they used to eat it and they used to give it as gifts. It was literally worth more than gold."

Million. Dollar. Whale vomit.

Thanks to S J, again.


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posted by Ace at 10:35 AM

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