A person walking their dog on a beach in North Wales recognized a lump of whale vomit, knew it was valuable, and retrieved it with pleasure.
A dog walker taking their usual walk along Angelesey Beach in North Wales stumbled upon a rare and unusual find: a nearly two-and-a-half pound lump of hardened whale vomit.
Being wise as to its origin, and what it could be worth, the beach-combing hiker picked up, and would eventually claim an auction price of 11,000 pounds or about $17,000.
The reason that the whale vomit was so pricey: ambergris.
Ambergris is a rare element that is highly prized by the perfume industry and just so happens to originate inside of sperm whales.
Though it is unclear how it forms inside the whale, it is known that sperm whales often expectorate, or “vomit,” the substance into the ocean where it hardens and then floats to shore.
High-order perfume companies, like Chanel, covet the ambergris for its earthy scent and its ability to help the perfume’s scent stay on the user for a longer time.
Since sperm whales are listed as an endangered species, it is banned in the U.S.