Ye Drunken’ Vervets…..

“12% are moderate drinkers and 5% drink to the very last drop.”

Vervet monkeys residing in the Carribbean Islands are alcoholics, according to the BBC. These monkeys, brought to the area via human intervention, once relied on fermented sugar cane for sustenance and nutrition, but have “resorted” to other means; stealing sweetened, fruity alcoholic drinks from the tourists at resorts. Take that humans.

I wonder if these vervet monkeys prefer 99 Bananas to other alcoholic drinks?

The commentator suggested that these predisposing signs of alcoholism in Vervet monkeys are other putative links of a shared ancestry. Wrong! It may be a link, but I assure you it’s the weakest one. How do you explain high alcohol consumption and preference in other mammalian species, such as the Syrian hamster, which has been shown by our lab to consume 50 times more alcohol than the average human? They have extremely high levels of alcohol dehydrogenase, and there is almost no detectable damage to their livers following long-term, chronic alcohol consumption. Why? In their natural environment, these desert-dwelling creatures bury fruit, and subsequently uncover and eat this fruit once fermented. The pungent smell of fermented fruit navigates them to the burying site. MMMM, pomegranate liquor.


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