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Sperm Whale Poo: "extraordinarily valuable"

Stashed in: Memes!, Whales!, Mother of God!, Alcohol!, Nasty., Makeup

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Thank you, Discovery Channel:

Sperm whales, it is not widely known, have the largest heads in the animal kingdom. (At around six meters, (20 feet) long, a sperm whale's head constitutes roughly one-third of its entire length from tip to tail.) Sperm whales are also the deepest divers in the mammalian world, able to descend in excess of 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) in search of giant squid, subjecting themselves to pressures that would crush a human.

And, perhaps most unexpectedly of all, sperm whales also produce extraordinarily valuable poop.

Not all sperm whales produce this poop. And at least some - and perhaps most or even all - of those that do, die in the process. But the result is, to humans, little short of golden.

The poop in question is called ambergris, and it is the result of the sperm whale's digestive system doing battle with the remnants of the whale's squid prey. The squids' beaks remain undigested, and make their way through the intestines until, in about one percent of sperm whales, they congeal in an ever-growing mass of fecal matter...

It is the unique and hard-to-define smell that makes ambergris, as Herman Melville in "Moby Dick" described it, "worth a gold guinea an ounce to any druggist.

Learned something new today.

See also: More than you ever wanted to know about whale poo.


Mother of God. They make perfume out of sperm whale shit.

Actually, finding sperm whale poop can help you retire.

Ambergris has many images on the web so you'll know it when you see it.

Look how happy this ambergris prospector is to find a $300k specimen:



Mother of Poo

That's SOME turd!


I love Templeton.

What about a $300,000 turd is humble?

Radiant, I'll give you.

But humble? Not since bartenders started using ambergris in cocktails and punches...



Precious ambergris...


You bring up a good point.

Ambergris is valuable when it comes from whale vomit, too.

Man, this convo has truly gone downhill.


. . . why? Oh man, I'm going to be spending some time on this now.

Once again, the internet has answered my question without really explaining. I am satisfied.

I don't care how valuable it is; I still hope to never receive some as a gift!

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