Human evolution News

Okay, we promise to get back to serious science coverage soon, but

Spread the love

… can’t resist this first – evolution of metabolizing booze:

File:A small cup of coffee.JPG From The Scientist: How we are able to metabolize booze:

A mutation in an ethanol-metabolizing enzyme arose around the time that arboreal primates shifted to a more terrestrial lifestyle, perhaps as an adaptation to eating fermented fruit.

Why are humans so attracted to alcohol, and why do so many struggle with its abuse? These are questions that science still can’t answer. The “drunken monkey” hypothesis proposed by University of California, Berkeley, biologist Robert Dudley posits that, unlike our attraction to other addictive drugs, our use and sometimes dependence on alcohol stems from the millions of years our ancient primate ancestors spent consuming ripe, fermented fruits. Perhaps these predecessors evolved some kind of neurological mechanism that drove them to seek out and consume sugar-rich, ethanol-containing foods, which were likely in short supply millions of years ago. But now that there’s a liquor store on every other corner, that drive to seek out alcohol has turned against us. (See “Drunks and Monkeys,” The Scientist, June 2014.)

“There’s all these anecdotal stories of . . . a monkey eating rotten fruit and getting tipsy,” says Matthew Carrigan of Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida. “But what hasn’t been done is to actually apply a real scientific test of this theory.” So, during his time at the nearby Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, which emphasizes a paleogenetic approach to understanding human health problems, Carrigan decided to explore the evolutionary history of our ability to metabolize booze. More.

Next: The evolution of chocolate pretzels 😉

Follow UD News at Twitter!

2 Replies to “Okay, we promise to get back to serious science coverage soon, but

  1. 1
    Upright BiPed says:

    News,

    O.T.

    Nielsen released a 27 page document today that outlines their plans to retire the infamous diary from their sample methodologies later this year. They retrieve their HH data passively (electronically), but amazingly in the year 2015, the demo data is still contrived from diaries and a few LPM markets (local people meters). Of course, in truth, the diary has been entirely useless for at least 30 years. It was developed when households had one TV, three networks, and you had to get up and walk across the room to change the channel.

    Their “fix” won’t actually be a solution (without massive investments and bringing online new technologies) but will instead be a great deal of double-speak and grease. I am working my way through their new models and methodologies right now, but I wanted to share the title of the paper with you. It is completely fitting.

    “The Evolution of Viewer Assignment: Methodology and Validation”.

    🙂

  2. 2
    Robert Byers says:

    its not a mystery why we like alcohol and nothing to do with a mythical primate past.
    Alcohol, which I like, simply makes us feel good by interfering with the triggering mechanism to our memory.
    Alcohol allows or switcjes on the pleasure we would have if we were not so nerved up with our memories.
    In fact, I get close to tipsey, with chocalute or other things for the same mechanical reason.
    the clue is that booze makes you forget things. The bible says this. So it is affecting the memory.
    Thats all it affects and thats why its great.
    In fact primates are missing out of the fun because they are too dumb to make booze.
    Animals like booze also by the way.

Leave a Reply