By Paul Byrne
31 January 2013
A dog walker who spotted a smelly yellow rock on a beach says discovering it as whale vomit was like finding a “bag of cash”. Ken Wilman said his boxer dog Madge found the 6lb lump, which could be worth £100,000, in Morecambe,
Lancashire. Ken only
realised its potential value after an online search revealed the substance was
ambergris, an ingredient used in the manufacture of perfume. A French dealer
has offered £43,000 but experts say the lump of hardened intestinal slurry from
a sperm whale could be worth twice as much.
Ken, who is unemployed after hurting his back in a motorbike accident, said:“I didn’t actually realise what it was at first and couldn’t understand why Madge was so interested in it. It smelled horrible. I left it, came back home and looked it up on the internet. When I saw how much it could be worth, I went back and grabbed it. It is like walking on the beach and finding a bag of £50,000 in cash."
Mr Wilman now plans to send a small sample of the rock to
France to have
it checked. He added: “If he verifies it, it will be like winning the Lottery.”
Chris Hill, curator at the Aquarium of the Lakes in
, said: “It’s quite a find. “How
much it’s worth will depend on how fresh it is, but it’s potentially $180,000. There
are places in Newby Bridge, Cumbria Europe that will buy it from you.
They will age it, like a fine wine, and then test it for perfume.”
Sperm whales eject the intestinal slurry into the ocean where it often floats in the water for years while it hardens and develops a distinctive odour. In 2006 a couple walking on an Australian beach found a 32-pound chunk of ambergris, which netted them $295,000.
Ten facts about ambergris
1. Ambergris is a solid, waxy, flammable substance of a dull grey or blackish colour produced in the intestines of sperm whales
2. It's produced by the whale to protect its gut from the very sharp beaks of squid that it feeds on deep down in the ocean
3. Although called 'whale vomit', it is probably pooped rather than vomited
4. It is excreted hundreds of miles away from land
5. It can float on the ocean for years before washing ashore
6. Years of exposure to the sun and salt water transform the waste into a smooth, grey, lump of compact rock which has a waxy feel to it
7. Freshly produced ambergris has a marine, fecal odor and as it ages, it acquires a sweet, earthy scent
8. It got its name because it looks like the amber washed up on beaches in the Baltic. Gris comes from the Latin word for grey
9. It is used in the production of perfume and as a result is extremely valuable
10. Scientists refer to ambergris as "floating gold" because of this
To find out more about ambergris, please click this:
Source : http://www.mirror.co.uk