A British family may be $85,000 richer after finding a good-sized chunk of what they believe is rare whale vomit.
Alan Derrick, 67, and his son Tom, 39, were strolling along a beach in Somerset, U.K., when they spotted what Alan described to South West News Service as a “smelly, rubbery” rock.
“What do you think this is, Dad?” Tom Derrick asked, according to SWNS. The chunk weighs about 2.5 pounds and has a very pungent smell.
“It smells terrible. It smells like walking into a very old damp building,” Alan Derrick said.
Derrick said he suspects the object is ambergris ― hardened intestinal slurry believed to originate in the digestive tracts of sperm whales ― and told his son to “guard it with your life.”
Ambergris takes years to form and is believed to protect whales from any hard or sharp objects they may eat. The substance, often used in fragrances, commands a premium price. A British dog walker found a chunk about the size of the Derrick’s last year and sold it for $14,500.