That Great, Prehistoric Taste!
– – I, for one, do not relish the thought of eating long-dead things. Let’s face it, however, some people will eat almost anything! So for the strong of stomach and to dovetail onto the previous mammoth post, we will consider tales of those who reportedly have tasted mammoth flesh, and for the less adventurous we will consider simply what mammoth is reported to taste like by the few contemporary people who have sampled it.
To put things into proper perspective, only several mammoths have been found in anywhere near an intact state. Most were already scavenged, preyed upon, or decayed to some degree before their freezing in permafrost, leaving little soft tissue behind. When the corpse becomes exposed, usually through erosion, it quickly starts to rot. Additionally, modern scavengers will consume exposed thawed soft tissue. Mummified frozen fossilized animals also tend to be found in frozen silt, not as giant ice cubes; it’s hardly a tasty smorgasbord. What meat that does survive is nearly always revolting.
Frozen mammoth meat has been eaten, however, and is described as tasting like meat left in the freezer for way too long. It’s tough and bland, and has no flavor. Now The Explorers Club, an association of heavy-duty scientists and adventurers, did according to reports include mammoth meat at a 1951 gathering; these were hardly large juicy steaks, but rather odd edible chunks or two supposedly recovered from Akutan Island in the Aleutians. Now old-time paleontology lore is full of tales in which half-starved hunters or explorers defrost and consume an icebound mammoth carcass, but most of these accounts are impossible to verify.
So in summation, finding a frozen mammoth is exhuming an icy grave, not walking into a meat locker. If you were an early human and needed to feed your tribe for a month, however, a mammoth wasn’t something that you would pass up quickly…
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