Charles Darwin HMS Beagle Food

Darwin’s Culinary Adventures

The great naturalist’s appetite is celebrated with the weirdest birthday tribute ever.

On February 12, a potluck dinner comprising the most biologically diverse ingredients possible is served up by scientists in honour of Charles Darwin, who ate (and reviewed) pretty much anything he discovered. “Ostrich dumplings”, the great naturalist noted aboard the HMS Beagle on September 17, 1832, “would never be recognised as a bird but rather as beef”.

This dinner hosted on Darwin’s birthday is titled the Phylum Feast, after the scientific term for classifying organisms in relation to others. The tradition is said to have originated in college campuses in the 1970s. The Phylum Feast is hosted today in restaurants and academic circles all over the world, rustling up suggestively titled items like primordial soup and monkey gland martini.

In tribute to the father of the theory of evolution by natural selection, here’s an illustrated walk through five of Darwin’s culinary adventures.


    Saumya Ancheri is Assistant Web Editor at National Geographic Traveller India. She loves places by the sea, and travels to shift her own boundaries. She tweets as @Saumya_Ancheri.


    Harshad Marathe is a Mumbai-based Illustrator and cartoonist. He graduated with an MFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts, Manhattan, in 2014. He is an up-and-coming illustrator who has most recently worked as a book-cover artist for Harper Collins. Harshad's work tends to draw heavily from his knowledge base in history and mythology.

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