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Blinded by Science: How Our Love Affair With Alcohol Began…

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June 10, 2016 by fhsteinbart


chimp beer

Here we see our nearest primate relative enjoying their favorite brew. There’s no accounting for taste however…

Recently scientists have discovered that our enzyme system for digesting alcohol (i.e. Ethanol, or ETOH) go back genomically 10 million years! It really shouldn’t be a surprise as that’s when primates first stepped out onto the ground from the trees to get at all that food on the ground. No surprise that that fruit was fermenting and our primate ancestors loved it! What surprised me was that no one has been able to explain why current primates don’t seem as interested in fermenting foods. Well, apparently this has now been documented as Chimps in the wild seem to be getting a buzz from eating fermenting foods! Stealing fermenting tree sap may sound weird, but when you consider all the different fermented beverages we humans consume, it only makes sense that these close relatives would rather “borrow” than make their own!

 

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