When we think about scientists, it's likely that many of us initially picture a person working in a clean lab and looking at a sample through a microscope.
However, that mental image doesn't even scratch the surface of what many of these people do on a daily basis, especially when it comes to working out in the field. Biologists, archaeologists, and other people of science often put themselves in less-than-ideal conditions for research, like examining rotting corpses or wading through bogs. That's what sparked a discussion on Twitter prompting people to describe the worst thing they've ever smelled on the job -- and the answers were seriously nasty.
These 15 scientists must really love what they do, because they deal with some pretty disgusting smells in their lines of work. Let's just say that vomiting isn't very uncommon for them.
1. Rotting turtle soup, basically.
🤔— David Steen, Ph.D. (@AlongsideWild) June 14, 2017
I remember a large dead turtle someone found on the road and put in the bed of their pickup in the GA summer heat. I walked by & puked. https://t.co/uhIwvDBxwq
2. I doubt she ever got that smell completely out.
Honorable mention to grad student studying alligators and using barrels of pig guts as bait. Some spilled in her truck. Terrible terrible.— David Steen, Ph.D. (@AlongsideWild) June 14, 2017
3. Sounds delightful.
A decomposing rhesus macaque in the Puerto Rican heat.— Lauren Gilhooly (@LaurenGilhooly_) June 15, 2017
4. What a crappy job.
Archaeologist: careful excavation of medieval latrine 2m deep.Shit takes weeks to excavate,during which no one wants to stand close to you.— Mick (@MickVeit) June 19, 2017
5. The heat has to make it a million times worse.
Zooarchaeologist here.We also clean skeletons.A pit with countless bags of decomposing animals in the summer sun.— Mick (@MickVeit) June 19, 2017
6. NOPE. No thanks!
I once helped an old friend (UT, PhD candidate) move an emu carcass... in the back of my jeep... the maggots had already moved in... :)— hallie h h 🗽 (@halliehh) June 15, 2017
7. If handling a whale carcass isn't bad enough, let's just let it marinate for a few weeks first.
We removed the skeleton from this fin whale in 2003. She'd been dead about 6 weeks. Sometimes I think I can still smell it! pic.twitter.com/kuTQJnUurI— Jeff W. Higdon (@jeffwhigdon) March 11, 2017
8. I imagine that's become his permanent smell.
9. And here we have the makings of the perfect storm of nastiness.
Musk gland of a recently unfrozen long-tailed weasel on a hot day in a small museum taxidermy room. Brutal.— cj battey (@cj_battey) June 14, 2017
10. I'm so glad I wasn't on the train that day.
Riding public transport with a bag full of these warm frog carcasses...I was left with plenty of legroom on the crowded train pic.twitter.com/4KFDA8alnX— Jonathan Kolby (@MyFrogCroaked) March 13, 2017
11. It might be time to get into the shower and never come out.
I was painting once when a whale researcher came and sat with me.He was shiny & stunk. "Whale snot," he said.— Terri Nelson (@TerriDrawsStuff) March 11, 2017
12. But out of all the awful stenches, many agreed that dead turtles are the absolute worst.
Yes, Dead Sea turtle for sure. Hands down.— Rebecka Brasso (@SeeMoBirds) June 15, 2017
13. It seems that the smell of their carcasses could weaken anyone's stomach...
Can confirm. I did got content analysis. Sea turtle stomach contents dried in a drying oven is awful— KRWedemeyer-Strombel (@krwedemeyer) June 15, 2017
14. ...and leave a seriously bad impression.
Second that. Necropsies on sea turtles get to me like no other. Related: excavating nests to do mortality count is new level of unpleasant.— Katie Martin (@KaptainRose) June 15, 2017
15. It apparently even has the power to destroy souls.
Dead turtles. The odor destroyed my soul.— David J. Syzdek (@dsyzdek) June 15, 2017
(via IFL Science)