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petrified whale vomit around squid beak...

Joined
Oct 15, 2005
Messages
319
Hi all!! I was wondering if anyone happened to catch the news blurb on AOL today regarding a woman whose sister had mailed her "something" that she had found on the shore about 50 years ago. This "thing" turns out to be (and I kid you not) -- Petrified Whale Vomit that had apparently started out as a soother around a giant squid beak in the whale's tummy (much like a grain of sand is an irritant to an oyster, thus resulting in a pearl...) I went back to confirm the link but there were new news stories on and that one was gone. Anyway, that's my inquiry, has anyone seen this article besides moi and what are the thoughts of the friends?? :tongue:
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
72
Yeah, I saw that news story -- it was definitely ambergris. Ambergris, IIRC, is now illegal for sale due to endangered-species legislation on behalf of sperm whales -- I'm not convinced that entirely makes sense though, 'cause it's collected in the form of nasty-ass floaters on the ocean.

Anyhow, it's largely composed of some weird sterol that sperm whales' guts secrete around irritants, as you said, and has high-powered scent fixative properties but in any decent concentration smells incredibly feculent. Kinda like civet.

Here's the article in the NY Times about the story, if you want it.
 

tonmo

Cthulhu
Staff member
Webmaster
Joined
May 30, 2000
Messages
10,325
Thanks for that link, hallucigenia... very interesting article!

Will add "whale vomit" to my Christmas list...
 

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