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The Time 250,000-Year-Old Mammoth Was Served For Dinner

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Christian Science Monitor

"The grand ballroom of the Roosevelt Hotel won't serve food like that again this year," wrote Herbert B. Nichols in the Christian Science Monitor on January 17, 1951. In fact, it probably hasn't served food like that ever since.

The occasion for the noteworthy fare was the Explorers Club 47th Annual Dinner, and the menu went something like this: Pacific spider crabs, with legs large enough to feed 10 people apiece; green turtle soup; bison steaks; cheese straws (which seem out of place but not unappreciated); and a morsel of 250,000-year-old woolly mammoth meat.

Courtesy of the Explorers Club

The task of hydraulically mining the Yukon Valley for permafrost mammoths to serve up proved too pricey to make the meat the main course—in such an event, each plate would have cost $475.94, which corresponds to $4520.23 in today's money. In fact, a lack of any edible mammoth whatsoever was set to nix the plans until Reverend Bernard Hubbard, also known as the Glacier Priest, "told the committee about his own private stock at a place called Woolly Cove on Akutan Island."

There's no mention of how the ultimate frozen food tasted, but that the mammoth was even edible is incredible. A 2007 Baltimore City Paper article cites a 1961 piece in Science magazine, which reported that of 39 mammoth carcasses found in the world to that point (10 years after the Explorers Club dinner), "just four were reasonably complete"—as I suppose it must have been to feed a gala—and even then the meat was often rotten.

Hopefully, for Mr. Nichols and the rest of the attendees' sakes, this was not the case with Reverend Hubbard's mammoth. But even if it was, it didn't deter the Club from their quest to serve only the most exotic foods at the annual dinner. The 2012 feast included bull "rods and testicles," python patties, martinis garnished with cow eyeballs, and a dessert topped with "pupae sprinkles" (a.k.a. maggots).

As for the remains of the centuries-old mammoth, the tusk can still be seen at the Club headquarters in New York City.

Hannah Keyser
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Animals
Why Male Hyenas Have It Worse Than Females
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A life of hunting zebras and raising young on the savanna isn’t half bad for a female hyena. Sadly, the same can’t be said for their male counterparts. As MinuteEarth explains, things take a downturn for the males of the species once they hit adolescence. No female in their pack will mate with them, a behavior scientists believe evolved to avoid inbreeding, so they head off in search of a different group to join. After dealing with vicious hazing from their new clan, they file in at the bottom of the rank and wait for other males above them to die so that they can slowly gain status.

Even after rising through the hierarchy, the most a male hyena can aspire to is being second place to the lowest-ranking female. Thanks to their bulky build and aggressive behavior, female hyenas enjoy a dominant position that’s rare in the animal kingdom.

After watching the video below, head over here for more facts about hyenas.

[h/t MinuteEarth]

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Art
A Beached Whale Sculpture Popped Up on the Banks of Paris's Seine River
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In Paris, dozens of fish varieties live in the Seine River. Now, the Associated Press reports that the famous waterway is home to a beached whale.

Rest assured, eco-warriors: The sperm whale is actually a lifelike sculpture, installed on an embankment next to Notre Dame Cathedral by Belgian artists’ collective Captain Boomer. It’s meant to raise environmental awareness, and evoke "the child in everyone who still is puzzled about what is real and what is not,” collective member Bart Van Peel told the Associated Press.

The 65-foot sculpture has reportedly startled and confused many Parisians, thanks in part to a team of fake scientists deployed to “survey” the whale. One collective member even posted a video on social media, warning Parisians that there “may be others in the water” if they opt to take a dip in the river, The Local reported.

The whale sculpture is only temporary—but as for Captain Boomer, this isn’t their first whale-related stunt. Last summer, the collective installed a similar riverside artwork in Rennes, France, and they also once strapped a large-scale whale sculpture to the back of a truck and drove it around France.

[h/t Associated Press]

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