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Relax after work with the Drunken Monkey Hypothesis

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Aqua Blue <em>Glass</em>From Nick Hines at VinePair, on why we like to drink alcohol:

The theory was originally put forth by Robert Dudley, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, in a 2000 article called “Evolutionary origins of human alcoholism in primate frugivory.” The hypothesis proposes that apes and early humans evolved to seek out ethyl alcohol because it led them to food. These early primates are known as frugivores, referring to their preference for fruit over any other food. But in order to locate that desirable fruit and those crucial calories, frugivores couldn’t just hit the local Whole Foods. They had to rely on their sense of smell. And one thing that routinely led them to fruit was the smell of alcohol.

It was on the veranda, cocktail in hand, that he came up with the theory. “I remember thinking once, ‘What is it about humans and alcohol, and this triangle of monkeys, fruit and alcohol fermentation? Maybe it is just an ancestral association of fruit-eating with alcohol production by yeast.’ Then, my immediate next thought, which I remember even more clearly, was that this is a real simple and obvious idea.” More.

Alcoholism has, according to the hypothesis, little to do with thousands of years of culture or emotional or biochemical dependency. That’s the thing about evolutionary psychology. It simplifies everything.

Actually it doesn’t matter because this thesis probably has the good sense not to be serious. Many dull dweebenprofs could not say that. 😉

Also, eating fruit led to us having bigger brains? (Now we need to figure out why vast numbers of other fruit eaters did not develop bigger brains.)

But wait! Didn’t eating meat lead to bigger brains? So the ideal brain food is steak and strawberries? Yes, many of us have always thought so.

See also: Human/primate evolution: Eating fruit led to bigger brains?

Eating meat and early weaning explains humans’ evolutionary success – researchers

and

“The evolutionary psychologist knows why you vote — and shop, and tip at restaurants”

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5 Replies to “Relax after work with the Drunken Monkey Hypothesis

  1. 1
    ppolish says:

    Early humans were roaming the planet long before apes and monkeys. Fossil evidence tells us so.

    Tipsy monkeys can be explained by the “drunken human” hypothesis. Monkey see, monkey do. Burp.

  2. 2
    News says:

    ppolish at 1, many authorities teach that man’s sin has corrupted the whole planet. It would be no surprise if what you say is true. 😉

  3. 3
    jdk says:

    re 1:???

    The earliest human (genus homo) was about 3 million years ago, and the earliest hominid about 6 million. The earliest great apes were almost 30 million years ago, and Old World monkeys before then. I think the statement “Early humans were roaming the planet long before apes and monkeys. Fossil evidence tells us so.” is false.

    I wonder if ppolish has any sources for that statement?

  4. 4
    ppolish says:

    jdk, the drunken monkey hypothesis is based on observation of modern monkeys and apes. Not based on old world monkeys. Early humans predate drunken monkeys.

    Look, any bird/reptile/mammal that eats fermented fruit is susceptible to impairment. “Drunken Monkey” is just another silly “we are monkeys” tale.

  5. 5
    LocalMinimum says:

    There are many accounts of dogs who’ve actually taken to toad licking seeking the narcotic effects. “Convergent evolution” to the rescue! One story becomes many, all in need of telling!

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