Ambergris: Whale Barf and Perfume

Sperm whale stomachs secrete a sticky mucus when they ingest sharp objects in order to protect from damage. After the whales throw up the mucus, which hardens in the salt water, it can be used as a fixative to help perfume last longer. Strong smelling chunks of ambergris can be found lying on oceanic beaches around the world, and larger ones have been known to sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. One reason perfume is expensive is because it contains an ingredient derived from whales. 00:03

  2. A similar compound has been found in fir trees. 00:49

Written by Curiosity Staff March 10, 2015