Alidar Jarok wrote:
Why they have a scientist and chose to dig up something in the ice is less than clear, though.
Why they have a scientist is less than clear. However, given that the scientist was there, the rest falls in place. It's made clear that the idea to go on the "hunting expedition" was the scientist's idea, and the Captain humored him. Which goes along with the Captain clearly being portrayed as less dogmatic in his position. The Captain and scientist appeared to be friends and in cahoots and in contrast to the more dogmatic officer (forgetting the name and rank).