Scientists watched the inhabitants of forests in south-western Guinea sipping their sugary sap, which was fermented and definitely contained alcohol. They start drinking it early in the morning and it easily becomes a habit for them to get drunk on the sweet liquorish potion.
After collecting evidence for about 17 years (from 1995 to 2012), the researchers were finally able to announce that these chimpanzees are the first ones to have been caught getting drunk. They were filmed in their natural habitat 24/7.
The local people pick the sugary sap from the trees. This usually ferments in an alcoholic drink within a few hours, which makes it very accessible to chimpanzees. People who harvest it usually collect the drink in a container which they place beneath a wedge in the tree.
The chimpanzees usually find these containers and drink its content right away. The videotapes showed that they were able to drink a liter of sap at once. Moreover, they would not stop there, but always came back for more.
The researchers did not notice much difference between the amount female and male chimps drank. However, there were differences from one individual to another, just like the ones recorded in the human world.
When talking about the facts, the scientists said that the amount of alcohol necked by these animals usually went up to 85 milliliters, which is similar to the quantity found in three pints of beer.
Just like human beings, some chimpanzees were more fond of the alcoholic drink than others. Some really behaved like alcoholics, according to the researchers. Such an example was set by Foaf, a male chimpanzee who appeared in 14 out of the 51 sessions recorded by the camera.
Nevertheless, it remains uncertain if these animals actually got drunk, even if the amounts of alcohol ingested were enough to change an average person’s behavior.
Some of the chimpanzees’ behavior changed after drinking the sap but the way they acted was not unusual enough to regard them as intoxicated.
More tests need to be carried out in order to determine if our desire to drink alcohol stems from our primate ancestors or it is just a habit that we’ve taken up after society started to develop.
Image Source: theguardian