Eat your way through 4 billion years of evolution

Evolution Festival, Media releases

Melbourne will host a unique dinner to celebrate Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday on 12 February at Melbourne Museum.

Guests will eat their way through the evolutionary tree – from primordial soup, to the first life on Earth, to the mammals.

The menu was developed by John Long, one of Australia’s leading palaeontologists, and head of science at Melbourne Museum.

The birthday party is open to the public and will include evolution themed entertainment.

“We’ll start with crusty arancini symbolising the earth’s crust. Four billion years ago the Earth was young and lifeless,” says John.

“Algae appeared in the oceans three billion years ago. We’ll be eating algae – as sushi wrapped with nori,” he says.

“The oceans thickened to form a primordial soup – represented by shots of seafood bisque – and filled with invertebrate life – represented by scallops, prawns and oysters.

“480 million years ago fish appeared. Then life spread from the oceans to the land, the dinosaurs, birds and the mammals appeared. All will appear on the menu.”

“The killer asteroid that ended the age of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago is the theme for desert. It’s marked with meteorites of churros with a lava centre.”

And then Chris Darwin, Charles’ great great grandson, will cut a unique 200th birthday cake modelled on an Aldabra Island tortoise from the Museum’s collection. These tortoises grow to over a metre and can live for more than 100 years. They demonstrate the gigantism that Darwin saw on the Galapagos Islands.

“There dinner concludes. The rise of the primates is off the menu.”

Entertainment will be provided by the National Institute of Circus arts and their spectacular Whale Evolution show, IMAX film features, and the museum’s own exhibits.

Tickets are available for $150.

Details and bookings at

Darwin’s birthday party is just one of a series of events marking Darwin’s work and ideas. Melbourne’s celebrations commence with a church service at St Paul’s Cathedral on Sunday 8 February.

For more public information about events that celebrate evolution and Darwin:

Read the menu and rationale here:

For further information including a full menu and scientific rationale contact:

  • Penny Underwood, (03) 9818-8540,  or
  • Niall Byrne, (03) 9398 1416, 0417 131 977 or