Post link 11 June 2015, 12:16
Posted: June 10, 2015 inquisitr.com

Chimps Drink Alcohol: Primates Found To Regularly Ingest Fermented Sap, Get Drunk [VIDEO]

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Chimps in Guinea, studied over a 17-year period, have been found to regularly ingest alcohol in the form of fermented palm sap. In some cases, the chimps would drink the equivalent of a bottle of wine, or three pints of Stella Artois, reports the Guardian — enough to get them drunk.

The years long study — published in Royal Society Open Science — revealed that the chimps’ favorite alcohol is a naturally fermented palm wine, that comes from the raffia palm tree. Locals in the Bossou area of Guinea harvest palm wine by cutting a wedge into trees and placing a bucket under it. The buckets that collect the sap, which ferments and turns into alcohol within hours, are then raided by the chimps who use leaves as sponges or scoops to ingest the alcohol.

The team researching the Guinea chimps, led by Dr Kimberley Hockings from Oxford Brookes University and the Centre for Research in Anthropology in Portugal figured that the alcohol content of the sap was about 3 percent alcohol by volume, and that “some individuals were estimated to have consumed about 85ml of alcohol, the equivalent to 8.5 UK units.” Which is enough alcohol, she said, for the chimps to become inebriated.

“[The chimps] displayed behavioural signs of inebriation, including falling asleep shortly after drinking,” Hockings told BBC News, “On another occasion after drinking palm wine, one adult male chimpanzee seemed particularly restless. While other chimpanzees were making and settling into their night nests, he spent an additional hour moving from tree to tree in an agitated manner.”

The link between non-human primates enjoying alcohol and our human predilection for it has gone through many hypotheses — including the “Drunken Monkey Hypothesis,” which theorizes that our non-human ancestors with a taste for ethanol survived more than those who didn’t ingest alcohol, because the smell of fermenting fruit helped them hunt for over-ripe fruit in tropical rainforests where it was scarce, and thus boost their much needed caloric intake.



Another, more recent study, by Matthew Carrigan, from Santa Fe College in the US, hypothesized that humans and chimps — among other African apes — share a gene mutation that allows for the easy metabolising of alcohol.

Dr Catherine Hobaiter, from St Andrews University, believes that there is more to be learned from the studying of the alcohol drinking chimps.

“It would be fascinating to investigate the [behaviour] in more detail: do chimps compete over access to the alcohol? Or do those who drank enough to show ‘behavioural signs of inebriation’ have a bit of a slow day in the shade the next morning?”

Whatever the case may be, the fact that these chimps regularly and habitually drink alcohol proves that humans aren’t the only ones in the animal kingdom to enjoy imbibing once in a while.
Topic edited 1 times, last edit by RouTe, 11 June 2015, 12:19  

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