Friday, October 23, 2009
Underbelly of Nature Moment: Ambergris
Ambergris is a 'biliary concretion,' of the intestines of sperm whales. Scientists aren't 100% sure about what causes it, but they think it may be that "whale's intestine produces the substance as a means of easing the passage of hard, sharp objects that the whale might have inadvertently eaten," - like giant squid beaks!! This led us to some nicknames - "sperm whale hork," or my fave, "sperm whale hairballs." However, according to Wikipedia (I know, I know, font of all things factual and true, right? But still, it's free and it's on the internets,) the Ambergris is MOST OFTEN expressed through sperm whale fecal!! Ah, the sweet smell of Nature.
Oh, and thanks to figgen1st, from whom I stole the picture of an Ambergris 'pearl.'