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Man finds whale vomit worth €100,000

A man in the UK has found something extremely valuable and kind of gross. The Daily Shift’s Lauren Kelly reports…

Some ambergris (whale vomit)

Some ambergris (whale vomit)

A man who was walking his dog on a beach in England is celebrating after he found a stone covered in whale vomit worth €100,000.

Ken Willman’s dog, Madge, became interested in a football-sized yellow rock while they walked along Morecambe beach.

“She wouldn’t leave it alone. I picked it up and it smelt horrible so I knocked it with my walking stick and a small lump came off,” he told Sky News.

He left the beach without the rock but when he got home curiosity got the better of him. So he decided to look it up on the internet.

Mr Willman discovered that the yellow substance resembled sperm whale vomit, or ambergris, which is used to make expensive perfumes, spices and medicines.

The substance, also known as ‘floating gold’, is said to smell like wood or fungus.

Speaking to BBC’s Today programme,  Callum Roberts, who is a professor of Marine Conservation at York University, said “It’s extraordinary valuable, and the reason is that is a perfect stabiliser for perfumes, and it’s been used in this way for hundreds of years now.”

Mr Willman has already been offered €50,000 by a French dealer. However, he declined as he believes that the ‘floating gold’ is worth at least twice that amount.

He is sending a sample of the substance to France for testing. If it turns out to be ambergris, Mr Willman and his dog could be having a whale of a time for years to come.

“It’s a waxy, yellow-grey piece of flotsam. I’m sure that 95% of people would walk past it without a further thought,” said Callum Roberts.

This is not the first time that whale vomit has been found on a beach. In 2006, an Australian couple stumbled along a 32-pound chunk of floating gold worth a whopping $295,000.  With that in mind, who wants to head to Dollymount?

*Lead image via Wikimedia Commons
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