It's done in the name of research, but it's also done in the name of tradition. Scientists tend to taste what they are studying. After all, Charles Darwin dined on all the species he described in his works. In the case of marine biologists, that means some exotic seafood. Peter Girguis and his colleagues ate tubeworms specimens.
"We just took off a little piece and ate it raw," said Girguis, a professor at Harvard University. "It had the texture of hot dogs with match heads ground in," he said. Living next to hydrothermal vents that spew toxic water rich in heavy metals and sulfuric acid gives the worms an odd flavor. "If it weren't for the sulfur, who knows, they might even be tasty," Girguis told LiveScience.
Why would Girguis even try a tubeworm? A long-standing marine biology mantra holds that scholars should taste their species of study ... or at least waste not, want not. "It's been a tradition to eat animals that we study," Girguis said. "I figured that if we're going to drag the poor creatures up, I might as well leave no tissue to spare."
This practice is not limited to living animals. Frozen mammoths and bison, toxic plants, million-years-old water, rocks, and insects are all known to have been sampled by scientists. Link -via Not Exactly Rocket Science