5 Foods We’ll Never Get to Taste Again Without Science

Okay, who ate the last one?
5 Foods We’ll Never Get to Taste Again Without Science

The idea of “eating something to extinction” is morbid and also, very funny. Obviously Im sad its happened, but the fact that humans have occasionally finished off a whole-ass species with a napkin tucked into their shirt collar is hilariously dumb. 

Now, its not always entirely our fault, like some sailor snuck the last donut out of a box only to find the factory had closed forever. Non-human-influenced environmental factors and disease have contributed, too. It is, though, usually a little bit our fault, all simply because a brand new organism proved to be shockingly toothsome. Which makes the fact that well never have the chance to taste that same little fella here in the future even sadder.

Here are five foodstuffs that were never tasting again without a scientific breakthrough…

The Dodo


Right: Before. Left: After

Perhaps the most famously extinct animal of all time is the dodo. Saddled by humans with both extinction and an incredibly unflattering name, theres no question we did this guy a little dirty. It was found on an island by the Dutch, who ushered in its end in remarkably quick fashion. From the first time a dodo heard Dutch to it being wiped off the map was a mere 80 years in time, in part due to hunting. 

Even worse is the fact that dodo meat reportedly tasted awful. Specifically, “offensive and of no nourishment.” Sure, they taste bad and they're not filling, but what are we going to do, not slaughter them wholesale? Its the human way!

The Steller s Sea Cow

Public Domain

A self-contained sea banquet.

The Stellers sea cow met a similar fate to the dodo, though it does have the questionable distinction of being pretty damn tasty. Not much solace for the hordes of sea cow ghosts looking down from the big ocean above, but at least their only crime wasnt “being around.” 

It turns out the Stellers sea cow is, in fact, positively swimming in unpleasant honors, being that its the first marine mammal to be made extinct by human action. The problem of opportunity the Steller’s sea cow suffered from was that all you had to do was double-tap a single one, and you were rewarded with 11 tons of delectable meat and oil. The meat reportedly tasted like corned beef, and the oil like almonds. Once we figured this out, they were hunted with impunity like buffalo in a fifth-grader's copy of Oregon Trail.

The Gros Michel Banana


If you do find one, definitely dont waste it on banana bread.

No need to run to Trader Joes, regular old bananas are still around. You didnt miss a news update. The banana you know and love, however, is verifiably a worse banana than the ones old humans and apes had a taste for. The bananas we eat today are overwhelmingly the “Cavendish” banana, instead of the pasts preferred “Gros Michel” banana. The Cavendish tasting notably not as flavorful, but tougher, something that proved important when a certain fungus took over. The “Panama disease” all but wiped out the worlds store of Gros Michel bananas and the plants that fruited them. 

And so, unless you get incredibly lucky, youre going to be stuck with a taste that is, well, second banana.


Miski, M.

If something ends up on money, its probably a pretty good plant.

The ancient herb silphium was a bona-fide marvel. Not only did it have a huge host of medicinal uses, it was also delicious. Now, if plants had sentience, and understood the rise of humans to apex predator, they would know that being useful and tasty are two terrible defense mechanisms. 

From the very beginning, silphium wasnt a plant set up for long-term survival, partly because it only grew in an incredibly limited area. If you wanted silphium, even as far back as the birth of Christ, you had only one option: a 125-by-35-mile strip of land in Cyrenaica, now Libya. With such limited real estate, it didnt take long for silphium to be harvested into extinction. 

We have records of the last known silphium plant, and they were written by Pliny the Elder, to give you an idea of how long its been gone. That plant was reportedly given as a gift to Emperor Nero, who popped it straight in his mouth like a Krispy Kreme.

Thomas Jeffersons Favorite Apple


Not the apple in question, unfortunately.

Modern apples are plenty delicious, except for, ironically, the Red Delicious. But crack into a Fuji, a Gala, even a Honeycrisp, and its hard to deny that they approach natural candy. Unfortunately, theres one famously tasty apple thats lost to time. One that was specifically grown, and praised, by Thomas Jefferson. The Taliaferro apple was grown by Jefferson at his home Monticello, but sadly, his orchards didnt survive, and neither did the apple. 

That’s highly unfortunate, given that he claimed they made the best cider he'd ever tasted.

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