ozmanjusri writes "ABC is reporting that a family in Australia recently found a large lump of ambergris, which they believe may be worth millions. It is a fascinating material, created by a sperm whale's intestine in response to irritation, probably caused by the undigested beaks of squid. The waxy mass is coughed out by the whale during a belch which is reported to be audible kilometers away, and is a putrid stinking mass. Floating in salt water and exposure to sunlight for ten years or more matures the waxy blob into a grey, sweet smelling solid which is used as a base for perfumes. Although the family may be able to sell the ambergris, it cannot be used in Australia or the US, since both countries are signatories to the Washington Treaty, which bans the trade of musk deer and whale products for perfume."