Sep 02, 2012 3:15 AM GMT
Hmmm - wasn't sure if this was entertainment or science... but it did come from NBC's science blog...
An 8-year-old boy in England could be up to $63,000 richer, thanks to 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, um, spewed out by whales.
Charlie Naysmith stumbled upon the loaf-sized lump at Hengistbury Head, on the southern coast of England, the Bournemouth Echo reported over the weekend.
As far as Charlie was concerned, it was just a seaside curiosity. But after doing some research, he and his family determined that the curious lump could be worth somewhere between £10,000 and £40,000 ($15,850 to $63,350).
[...] More recently, ambergris — or ambrein, a compound extracted from ambergris — has been used as a fixative or fragrance amplifier rather than the main ingredient in perfumes. Ambergris' selling price has been quoted at $10 to $50 per gram, depending on the quality of the specimen. (The Echo estimates that the lump found at Hengistbury Head weighs about 600 grams, which suggests that Charlie shouldn't count on building a $63,000 house for his animals.)