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why is a sperm whale so called

A serving of eggs and ambergris was reportedly King 's favorite dish. In chapter 91 of 's (1851), Stubb, one of the mates of the,
fools the captain of a French whaler ( Rose-bud ) into abandoning the corpse of a sperm whale found floating in the sea. His plan is to recover the corpse himself in hopes that it contains ambergris. His hope proves well founded, and the Pequod' s crew recovers a valuable quantity of the substance. Melville devotes the following chapter to a discussion of ambergris, with special attention to the irony that "fine ladies and gentlemen should regale themselves with an essence found in the inglorious bowels of a sick whale. " In "A Romance of Perfume Lands or the Search for Capt. Jacob Cole", F. S. Clifford, October 1881, the last chapter concerns one of the novel's characters discovering an area of a remote island which contains large amounts of ambergris. He hopes to use this knowledge to help make his fortune in the manufacture of perfumes. In Chapter 17 of 's "A New Voyage Around the World" (1697), Dampier escapes to Nicobar Island for "a prospect of advancing a profitable trade for ambergris. and of gaining a considerable fortune. " In the 1956 episode "Whale Gold" of the British television series, a crew of eighteenth-century pirates led by Captain Dan Tempest (actor ) find large pieces of ambergris at sea and on a beach, discoveries that lead to quarrels and death due to "whale gold fever. " The plot of 1963 episode " " revolves around an ambergris smuggling operation. The 1969 book by Ian Cameron, later made into Disney's 1974 film depicts a dirigible trip to the 'Whale Graveyard' where they find so much ambergris that it becomes a point of contention.


In the episode "Louie's Lethal Lilac Time" (11 January 1968), Louie the Lilac steals a large piece of ambergris from Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, to use in his illegal perfume factory. In " " in "The Arabian Nights" by, Sinbad finds vast quantities of Ambergris after being shipwrecked on an unknown island after setting sail from. In the 2001 film, sends Clarice Starling a letter which he writes while intentionally wearing a hand lotion containing ambergris, correctly assuming that this would lead her to discover his location in, due to lotion utilizing ambergris being legal in only a few countries. In the 2003 film, an adaptation of 's, Carpenter's Mate Joseph Nagle notes that the French privateer The Acheron would be ". loaded with gold and ambergris and all the gems of Araby", indicating the relative rarity and considerable value of ambergris during the Age of Sail. Ambergris plays a prominent role in the plot of the 2003 episode ". " The episode guest-stars, who appears as a hologram of herself, reading the dictionary definition of "ambergris. " In The 2007 film adaption of " ", Beadle Bamford claims he uses ambergris as a cologne. In the 2014 episode " " of the animated television program, a lump of ambergris found on the beach plays an important role, as Louise, Tina, and Gene attempt to sell the ambergris illegally for $30,000. Ambergris is a commonly traded item in. Ambergris is one of the resources needed for manufacturing perfumes in the video game. Monday, December 29, 1997 So, why the heck are called sperm whales? THANKS to and, I hear from a lot more readers than I used to. Here are a few recent questions and comments: A reader named Dan writes: Mahalo for the interesting column on the sperm whale ( ).


You provided many interesting details on the creatures' physiology, diet, history and commercial uses. What's glaring in its omission, however, is why in God's name is this creature called a SPERM whale? Inquiring minds deserve to know. Indeed they do. Much of the bulk of a sperm whale's enormous head is taken up by a barrel-shaped organ called the case. Inside the case is a clear, liquid oil that when cooled, hardens to resemble white paraffin. Because whalers thought this stuff looked like whale sperm, they called it spermaceti and named the animal a sperm whale. Spermaceti was used as lubricant and lamp fuel until around the end of the 19th century when petroleum products replaced it. Another reader, Charles, wrote of an experience he had at Ala Moana Beach Park: Last November, lifeguard Helene Phillips scooped a strange object into a Styrofoam cup at the water's edge. She handed it to lifeguard Bill Goding, who called us over. The thing was one piece, not broken off something else, and had no obvious breaks or ruptures. It was maybe 15 inches long and an inch or so in diameter, translucent, jellyfishlike, but stronger and didn't break when held by one end. It had no internal organs, but was suspiciously organic-looking. No, it wasn't a condom, though a condom closed at both ends and filled with clear Jell-O would be a fair description. What's your guess? A good find! Although I didn't see the creature, and I don't know why it would be closed at both ends, the thing sounds much like a pyrosome. Pyrosomes are gelatinous, free-swimming relatives of sea squirts. Brilliantly luminescent (pyrosome means fire bodies ), these white creatures have an opening at one end like a condom.


Individual members of a pyrosome colony lie in the cylinder's jellylike walls with their mouths facing out. Tiny beating threads in the mouths move water and nutrients inside the tube. This not only provides food and oxygen for the individuals but also propels the colony through the water. The length of these colonial animals ranges from an inch or so to over 30 feet long. A photo in one of my books shows a scuba diver examining one 3 feet in diameter, and he's almost completely inside the animal. My own experience with a pyrosome was with a smaller one, about 2 feet long, in the Galapagos Islands. I was descending on a drift dive when a pyrosome floated into my face and flashed its brilliant white light. I was so startled, I didn't have the sense to grab it for a closer examination. When a pyrosome encounters an object, a wave of light moves along its body, which frightens potential predators. It has been suggested that the 1964 reports of a torpedo attack in the Gulf of Tonkin, which escalated American involvement in Vietnam, might have been pyrosomes, common in the area. Now there's a sobering thought. On a happier note, I'll end my column year with a comment from an Australian reader, Dieter: A yabbie in Australia is a small crayfish, not the giant monster you wrote about ( ). Yabbies live in holes along the banks of any billabong. A much larger crustacean called the Murray crab can be found in the Murray River. Both Murray crabs and yabbies are good bush tucker-fair dinkum! Oh, I'll never learn Australian! Thanks for writing, everyone. Your letters made it a great Oceanwatch year.

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