New study on monkeys reveals why some people love alcohol; find out more here


Researchers have discovered that some of our ‘ape ancestors’ actually consumed fruits containing alcohol – sugar in ripe fruits when exposed to atmosphere is broken down into alcohol and carbon dioxide by yeasts

New study on monkeys reveals why some people love alcohol; find out more here

Representational image. AFP

Humans consume alcohol for a variety of reasons; some do so for recreation, while others see it as a means of escaping problems. There is no single reason why people drink. But research can help us find the reason.

According to a new study on monkeys has led researchers to some of our «ape ancestors» who actually looked for fruits containing alcohol — When fruits ripen enough the sugar in it ferment, yielding about two percent alcohol.

Fermentation occurs in nature in any sugar-containing mash from fruit, berries, honey, or sap tapped from palms. If left exposed in a warm atmosphere, airborne yeasts act on the sugar to convert it into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

According to Science Daily, monkeys routinely consume alcohol-containing fruits, explaining humans’ taste for alcohol.

The ethanol content of fruit eaten by spider monkeys in Panama was studied by biologists from the University of California, Berkeley. They discovered that the fruit contained alcohol ranging from one to two per cent.

To support their theory, the biologists collected urine samples of the monkeys, and majority of the samples contained secondary metabolites of ethanol, or drinking alcohol. The findings suggest that the animals were obtaining energy from the alcohol. This is evidence that our primate ancestors preferred fermented, alcohol-containing fruit, most likely due to its higher nutritional value.

As per Christina Campbell, California State University, Northridge (CSUN) professor of anthropology, the researchers were able to demonstrate conclusively for the first time that wild monkeys consume fruit-containing ethanol without human intervention.

With input from agencies

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