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Boy discovers piece of whale vomit worth up to $60,000

(CBS News) They say one man's trash is another man's treasure, and that's apparently as true for whales as it is for humans. A young British boy is rich after discovering a piece of whale vomit valued as high as $60,000, according to the local newspaper "Daily Echo."

Charles Naysmith, of the southern English coastal town of Christchurch, made the improbable discovery while taking a nature walk with his parents. Stumbling upon what he believed to be nothing more than an unusual rock, Naysmith and his parents did some research and realized young Charles had found a piece of hardened sperm whale vomit called ambergris.

Ambergris, formed in the intestinal tract of sperm whales and often vomited or secreted into the ocean, is a waxy substance that can be used in perfumes to prolong their scent. The sizable chunk - weighing 600 grams - discovered by the Naysmith family could be worth as much as $60,000 to the right buyer, the Echo estimates.

Charles is still deciding what he might do with his whale vomit windfall. His father, Alex, told the newspaper, "He is into nature and is really interested in it. We have discovered it is quite rare and are waiting for some more information from marine biology experts."

Ambergris is generally soft, waxy and pungent when expelled from sperm whales. The piece discovered by the Naysmiths was most likely floating in the ocean for decades before washing up on the southern England coast. Experts have told the family it is unlikely that similar pieces of ambergris will be found in the area.

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