[credit provider=”Wikimedia Commons” url=”http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Struthiomimus_BW.jpg”]
If you could chow down on any dinosaur meat, which species would you chose?My first thought was definitely a T. Rex, but I’ve changed my mind now, after reading this article by Erin Berger of Popular Science.
They spoke with David Varricchio, a paleontologist at Montana State University, who said:
“When people ask me if a T-Rex would be good, well, I don’t think so.”
He explained: “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.”
The article suggests that people should avoid meat-eaters, since animal fat gives meat a gamey flavour (which is why we love beef, from the plant-eating cow). Dinosaurs that ate marine animals would also be a no-no: Aside from the fishy taste, the high amount of oil from fish would make the meat more likely to oxidize and taste rancid.
The type of muscle an animal has is also important, Berger writes:
The kind of activity an animal does determines what kind of meat it yields. Red meat is composed of slow-twitch muscle fibres, 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.
Varricchio concluded that Ornithomimosaurs, a species of theropod dinosaurs that looked like ancient ostriches, would taste the best: “I think it would be a lean, slightly wild-tasting red meat.”