Sperm whale secretion may spell fortune for UK man

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Associated Press

Posted on January 31, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 31 at 9:33 AM

LONDON (AP) — One very smelly sperm whale secretion may soon make one lucky British beachcomber a very happy man.

Fifty-year-old Ken Wilman has told British broadcasters that he had been walking his dog along Morecambe beach in northern England when they discovered a soccer ball-sized piece of ambergris, a waxy byproduct of sperm whale digestion that has traditionally been used to make perfumes, spices, and medicines.

Ambergris can be pricey, and in interviews broadcast Thursday Wilman said that he had been offered €50,000 ($68,000) for the musky material.

One expert said the find appeared legitimate and praised Wilman's quick thinking.

Callum Roberts, a professor of marine conservation at the University of York, said, "Fortune favors the prepared mind."

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