Scientists ate a 50,000-year-old bison stew

(ORDO NEWS) — The remarkably well-preserved bison was first discovered by gold miners in 1979 and passed on to scientists as a rare find, being the only known example of a Pleistocene bison (Bison priscus) recovered from permafrost.

However, this did not stop inquisitive researchers in 1984 from preparing a portion of Pleistocene buffalo meat stew.

The unusual dinner party was to take place at the home of paleontologist Dale Guthrie in Alaska, who was instrumental in removing the Blue Babe bison from the environment.

Initial analyzes of bison collagen appear to have shown the remains to be about 36,000 years old, but more recent research has shown them to be about 50,000 years old.

Blue Babe’s rapid transformation into a block of Pleistocene ice after his death meant that his muscle tissue was preserved, along with fat and bone marrow to boot. With so many options, the research team decided to diversify their dinner.

“To complete and celebrate Eirik Granqvist [the taxidermist]’s work with Blue Babe, we prepared a buffalo stew dinner for him and for Bjorn Kurten, who gave a guest lecture…”

Guthrie wrote of the event. “A small part of the mummy’s neck was diced and stewed in a pot with broth and vegetables.”

“We had Blue Babe for dinner.

The meat was well seasoned but still a bit tough and it gave the stew a strong Pleistocene flavor, but no one there would dare miss it.”

As to why they opted for the stew, “Cooking neck steak didn’t seem like a good idea,” Guthrie said. “But you know what we could do is put in a lot of vegetables and spices and that wouldn’t be so bad.”

A bit of culinary magic may have saved the taste. Fragments of teeth remained on Blue Babe’s neck, but where the researchers cut off the musculature of the bison’s neck, even 50,000 years later, it was quite fresh.

“When the meat was thawed, it gave off an unmistakable beef flavor, mingled with the faint odor of the earth in which it was found, laced with mushrooms,” Guthrie wrote.

“There were about a dozen of us… April 6, 1984, to taste the buffalo stew.”

“The taste was amazing and none of us experienced any side effects from the food.”

And if you’re wondering how they feel after eating 50,000-year-old meat, it looks like they were fine.


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