What Dinosaur Would Taste the Best?
Russ Chastain 09.15.17
Well now (as the saying goes), I have heard it all. Popular Science has taken a detailed (and kinda scientific) look at which dinosaurs would be the best for eating. You know, if dinosaurs were real critters with meat on their non-fossilized bones.
An ostrich-like dinosaur known as an ornithomimid would probably yield the most consumer-friendly cut of meat, while still maintaining a unique dinosaur taste.
I am a dedicated meat-eater, but I’m not certain what “a unique dinosaur taste” really is. And of course, that would vary depending on the dinosaur.
Dinosaurs that ate marine animals would definitely be off the list, not only for their fishy flavor, but also because the high amount of oil in fish would make the meat more susceptible to oxidation, which would give it a rancid taste. In fact, any carnivorous dinosaur would not fare too well in the supermarket. Most people prefer meat that comes from herbivorous animals — think cow, deer, bison — since animal fat found in a carnivore’s diet adds a significant amount of “gamey” flavor. And some dinosaurs’ diets are far too unappetizing to consider.
‘When people ask me if a T-Rex would be good, well, I don’t think so,’ David Varricchio, professor of paleontology at Montana State University, says. ‘They’ve found jaw abnormalities that suggests they were eating fetid meat and had diseases that came about from prey items. They would be pretty parasite-laden.’
They say different dinos would have red meat and white meat:
The kind of activity an animal does determines what kind of meat it yields. Red meat is composed of slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are built for sustained periods of activity, so animals that are active for longer amounts of time throughout the day would be composed of mostly red meat. Those who ambush their prey or move quickly for short periods of time would have white meat, which is composed of fast-twitch muscles that allow for quick bursts of activity. So dinosaurs taking part in extended periods of activity would probably have muscles less like a chicken (or even a fast-acting predator like a cheetah) and more like a steady-moving cow.
They may be a little off in the first sentence; I would say that the meat an animal is made of determines what kind of activity it can do. (You know what I mean; a cow that starts acting like a chicken isn’t suddenly going to be made of different meat.) But either way, you get the drift.
Naturally, you’d be better off if you could find a lazy dinosaur. Hard-working critters are always tougher.
Back to the one PopSci says would taste the best:
Ornithomimosaurs were a group of ostrich-like dinosaurs that were part of the suborder Theropoda… They were close enough to birds that they likely had feathers and were warm-blooded, but they were very active animals with large hind legs for prolonged periods of running, so their muscles would probably have been mainly slow-twitch, less like modern birds. Though most theropods were carnivorous, ornithomimids were unique in that they had no teeth, a fact that has led most to believe they ate mostly plant matter.
‘About 80 percent of the ornithomimids were hindquarters, and they were really well-suited for running,’ Varricchio says. ‘I’ve also done a little work on their bone histology and it’s safe to say they’re relatively fast-growing. I think it would be a lean, slightly wild-tasting red meat.’
A speedy rascal. Sounds like the hunt would have to be an ambush. Tree-stand dinosaur hunting, anyone?