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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Drink up. It's in our genes.

Why do we like wine, beer, and spirits so much? Even during America's Prohibition people risked jail for a drink. It turns out we can't help it. Our prehistoric ancestors first developed the desire for alcohol.

The scientists who study this call it Drunken Monkeys.

image from dailymail.co.uk
The fermentation of fruit sugars into alcohol happens in the wild. There are yeasts flying around on the wind. Monkeys to shrews have been seen eating fermented fruit so it stands to reason this trait goes back millions of years -- for as long as there have been animals feeding off fruits. This fruit contains much less alcohol than what modern man puts in his booze, but some animals eat a lot of fermented fruit over their lifetime.

Alcohol contains calories which is energy. It seems chimpanzees seek out fermented fruit and stock up on it whenever found. Luckily, their stomach fills up before they can overindulge. Humans, with a large supply of available alcohol in higher concentrations, can easily overindulge and even become dependent.

We've been making our own alcoholic drinks for only 9,000 years. It turns out our ancestors have been consuming it for millions.