Darwin was an inquisitive man. Sure he was curious about nature and all that science stuff, but he’s also a guy. So when he saw strange animals, he often wondered what they would taste like. The difference between Darwin and the rest of us is that he actually ate ’em!
While he was at Cambridge University, Darwin joined the “Gourmet Club,” which met once a week to eat animals not often found in menus, like hawk and bittern (a type of wading bird in the heron family). His zeal for weird food, however, broke down when he tried an old brown owl, which he found “indescribable.”
But that one episode didn’t end Darwin’s weird gastronomic proclivities. During the voyage of the Beagle, he ate armadillos and agoutis (the rodents were “best meat I ever tasted,” he said).
In Patagonia, South America, Darwin ate a puma (it tasted like veal) and an ostrich-like bird called a Rhea. Actually, Darwin had been looking for this particular species of Rhea, only to find that he had been eating one all along. He sent back the uneaten parts to the Zoological Society in London, which named the bird Rhea darwinii after him!
In the Galapagos, Darwin ate iguanas and giant tortoises. He liked it so much he loaded up 48 of them aboard the Beagle, to be eaten on the journey back!