by Adam Cole, The Salt at NPR Food (10/3/14)
Beer is a collaboration between two species — a multicellular animal called a human and a single-celled fungus called yeast. Both descended from the same single-celled organism.
It took time for each of them to evolve — more than a billion years — but once they did, it wasn't long before they teamed up to create beer. Now, fossil hunter Jason Osborne has added a little extra flavor to this family reunion by brewing beer with yeast taken from the remains of a 35-million-year-old whale.
The special ingredient in this brew was sourced from a single vertebra, one that belonged to an ancient "proto-whale" called Eocetus wardii. They swam the waters of the Atlantic back when it covered the eastern United States, and now their bones (and the fossilized remains of many other proto-whales) can be found in Virginia swamps.