A rare lump of ambergris found on a UK beach is set to fetch £7,000 at auction. Ambergris is a waxy rock-like substance produced by sperm whales that is sought after by the cosmetics industry because it helps to prolongue scent of perfume.
The initially foul-smelling substance is produced in the intestines of the whales to protect them from the sharp beaks of squid which they eat. It is then either passed as faecal matter or (more rarely, despite the current media headlines) vomited out into the sea where the salt and sun turn it into a hard rock over a long period of time. This particular lump of ambergris was found by an unnamed dog walker on a beach on the island of Anglesey, North Wales.