According to a study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science scientists have discovered that chimps enjoy consuming alcohol coming from palm wine. This discovery cold offer insight in the evolution theory and explain why humans enjoy drinking.
It seems that chimps from the Bossu village (Guinea, West Africa) use their knowledge to manufacture tools using leafs from trees in order to drink palm wine. The lead author of the study Kimberley Jane Hockings from the Oxford Brookes University and the Center for Research in Anthropology in Portugal said that the fact that the chimps can use such elementary technologies confirms that our nearest living relative is clever and enterprising.
The scientists observed how the chimps scrunch up leaves in their mouths and mold them into spongy pads. Afterwards they dip them into containers which gather sap and which were attached to the trees by the villagers. The palm sap ferments quickly and turns into palm wine. The investigators observed 13 chimps which used leaf sponges to drink palm wine. This behavior was observed in 51 instances. Hockings said that this was fascinating for the scientists.
Instances in which animals consume alcohol were also observed before. For example the Swedish moose gets drunk on fermented apples and sneaky monkeys from the St. Kitts Caribbean Island take gulps from the cocktails of those who are on holiday. However the chimps from Bossou which were observed for more than 17 years are the first animals to provide serious data about how much alcohol wild animals can consume. There were cases when only one chimp would climb on the top of the palm, but there were also instances when the animals organized what could be called drinking sessions and several animals gathered to co-drink
All modern human cultures which have access to materials which ferment were observed to show alcohol consumption. From this scientists drew the Drunken Monkey Hypothesis according to which alcohol consumption could have offered certain benefits to the ancestors of nowadays individuals and probably to the ancestors of chimps too.
Both humans and apes have a genetic mutation which appeared almost 10 million years ago. This mutation helps them with alcohol consumptions and it seems that in the past it helped apes and humans ingest fruits which were overripe or fermenting. So according to the Drunken Monkey Hypothesis the benefits of such a diet may have triggered to humans and apes’ attraction to alcohol.
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