Charlie Naysmith was walking with his parents along the coast of southern England when he stumbled upon what he believed to be an interesting-looking rock.
At just eight years old, what else was he to do but pick it up and start asking questions?
According to CBS, the boy’s father did some quick research on the internet and discovered the object was no mere rock– it was hardened whale vomit, and it’s worth a fortune.
Geobeats has more:
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 value of the product is partially due to its rarity. Apparently it can float in the ocean for decades, rarely washing ashore. In 2006, however, a lucky Australian couple cashed in for nearly $300,000 after finding a 14-pound lump of the substance.
Ambergris originally has a foul smell, according to the Daily Echo, but after years of exposure to salt water and sun, has a waxy texture and a sweet smell.
So what will young Charlie do with his windfall profits?
The Daily Echo, which broke the story, writes:
[He] quite fancies using the profits to build a house for animals.
His dad, Alex, said: “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.”
After commending the boy on his discovery, one commenter wrote: “Looks like a bit of French [bread] I had for lunch…If I’d seen that on the beach I would have walked straight past it!
(H/T: Daily Mail)