Everyone has heard the rumor, but probably only dogs, or passing wolves, ever enjoyed a modern feast of preserved mammoth meat.
Mammoth meat looks like horse meat but quickly rots when it thaws.
Several mammoths were found in permafrost, preserved since the last glacial period.
The most famous was found in 1901 near the banks of the Berezovka River in Siberia. An Academy of Science expedition with dogsleds was quickly sent.
The expedition found a nearly complete carcass, but wolves and dogs had left the skull almost bare.
The meat was dark red, suggesting horse meat, and marbled with fat.
The dogs ate it avidly; the men could not quite steel themselves to try it too. Members of the expedition said the stench was like that of a badly kept stable blended with that of offal.
Members of later trips said scientists never banqueted on or even sampled the meat.
Books that describe a banquet usually lack a place and date.
The rumor seems to have arisen from Siberian natives’ superstitions warning against eating the meat, though the Yakut fed it to their dogs in time of famine.