Zoological Gourmandism: The Exotic Appetite Of Charles Darwin

Yithian

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#1
He eats every chimp he sees, from Chimpan-A to Chimpan-Z...

Dining Like Darwin: When Scientists Swallow Their Subjects
August 12, 201512:44 PM ET
JESSIE RACK

[...]

We can't start any discussion of eating strange plants and animals without invoking that epicure of evolution: Charles Darwin himself. You see, Darwin was quite the adventurous eater, even before he became a naturalist. At Cambridge, Darwin was a member of the Glutton Club, a group of students devoted to devouring "birds and beasts which were before unknown to human palate," according to a college friend. They tasted hawk and a heron-like wading bird called a bittern, but the club dissolved after trying to eat a brown owl, "which was indescribable," Darwin reported.

Once he embarked on The Beagle, Darwin's penchant for bold food choices continued to evolve. He ate puma ("remarkably like veal in taste"), iguanas, armadillos. He not only ate giant tortoises, but tried drinking their bladder contents: "The fluid was quite limpid, and had only a very slightly bitter taste." He ate a 20-pound rodent (usually assumed to be an agouti) that provided "the very best meat I ever tasted." He even accidentally ate part of an ostrich-like bird called a lesser rhea, after spending months trying to catch it so that he could describe the species. (Don't worry: Once he realized what they were dining on, Darwin made everyone stop eating and sent a package of leftover bones, skin and feathers back to England.)


Full article (with wonderful cartoon) on the wider subject of scientific consumption:
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesal...darwin-when-scientists-swallow-their-subjects
 

maximus otter

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#3
I'm told that iguana is delicious. They are a pest species in Florida, for example, so toothsomeness is truly cromulent serendipity.

"Green iguanas are not native to Florida and are considered to be an invasive species due to the damage they can cause to seawalls, sidewalks, and landscape plants. This species is not protected in Florida expect by anti-cruelty law. Homeowners do not need a permit to kill iguanas on their own property, and the FWC encourages homeowners to kill green iguanas on their own property whenever possible. Iguanas can also be killed year-round and without a permit..."

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

As to rhea, on several occasions recently I've seen street vendors at food fairs selling ostrich burgers. I'd assume there's not much difference (other than potential portion size!)

maximus otter
 

JamesWhitehead

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#4
I'm having difficulty pinning it down but I did once read that the WWF élite held a banquet which included turtle soup, panda steaks or tiger medallions*. Prince Philip, once International President, was being honoured. He retired from that post in 1996, so presumably, this was pre-internet. :omg:

*Well, something endangered, at least.
 

Mythopoeika

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#5
I'm having difficulty pinning it down but I did once read that the WWF élite held a banquet which included turtle soup, panda steaks or tiger medallions*. Prince Philip, once International President, was being honoured. He retired from that post in 1996, so presumably, this was pre-internet. :omg:

*Well, something endangered, at least.
I wouldn't dismiss that possibility.
 

Xanatic*

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#8
That image is from the Aardman Animations movie Pirates! which ironally featured Darwin trying to keep a dodo safe from a group that ate endangered animals.
 
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