Published On: Thu, Aug 30th, 2012

English boy earns over $60K from whale vomit ‘chunk’

An 8-year-old boy in England, Charlie Naysmith, is set to earn $63,000 for a piece of solidified whale vomit he picked up on the beach.

 The chunk may look like a yellow-brownish rock, but it’s actually a primo piece of ambergris, an expensive perfume ingredient that is spewed out by whales.

Charlie Naysmith posing with the ambergris photo/screenshot of Daily Echo report

Charlie Naysmith stumbled upon the loaf-sized lump at Hengistbury Head, on the southern coast of England, the Bournemouth Echo reported over the weekend.

“We have discovered it is quite rare and are waiting for some more information from marine biology experts,” the boy’s father, Alex, told the Echo.

Charlie is reportedly thinking about using the money to build a house for animals.

Ambergris is a waxy, bile-like substance that builds up in the intestines of sperm whales, apparently to ease the passage of hard material such as squid beaks through a whale’s digestive tract. It’s often characterized as whale vomit, and although that’s fine as a family-friendly description, the stuff is more widely thought to come out of the whale’s back end rather than its front end.

Fresh ambergris smells like fresh whale poop, but after a long period of seasoning and hardening in the ocean, it takes on a more delicate odor. It’s been variously compared to the aroma of tobacco, the scent of an old wooden church, the fragrance of seaweed, or the smell of rubbing alcohol without the pungency.

“The problem with trying to describe the smell of ambergris is that it really only smells like ambergris,” Christopher Kemp, a biologist and neuroscientist who’s written a book about the substance, told Bloomberg Businessweek’s Eric Spitznagel.

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON


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