A man in Wales stumbled upon one unexpected goldmine of a find while strolling along a beach with his dog. The man, who is unnamed, discovered a massive lump of whale vomit, and it is expected to be auctioned for as much as $10,000 USD.
Back at work to discover a big lump of ambergris (whale vomit) consigned for the next auction, worth a fortune pic.twitter.com/QHk47Pr5bi
— Adam Partridge (@apauctioneers) August 25, 2015
News of the discovery and its high-value has left many confused, and asking why such a gross find would be worth so much money.
Who even thinks to auction off whale vomit in the first place?
The substance is known as ambergris, and apparently it’s a vital ingredient to the perfume industry.
According to Chris Surfleet from the Adam Partridge auction house, ambergris is formed in the digestive system of a sperm whale. The whale passes the ambergris, either in the feces or by vomiting. Scientists believe that the substance coats whale intestines in order to protect them from irritating objects that may pass through them.
It is produced by the whale’s bile duct.
While this all might seem disgusting—and in its raw form is reportedly extremely foul-smelling— it is a common ingredient in perfume and is used to enhance and prolong the wear of fragrances.
Surfleet said that the final value of the find will be determined on several factors: tests will prove the authenticity and quality of the ambergris, and of course size also comes into play.