Science News

Drunk Monkeys - Apes Show Drinking Behaviour Strikingly Similar to Humans

Sun, 17th Mar 2002

Part of the show Using Viruses To Treat Cancers - Moira Brown

Dr. Frank Erwin and his team at the McGill University in Montreal, Canada, have done some research into monkey's drinking habits. Monkeys behave like humans at a cocktail party - one gets aggressive, one is sexy, one thinks everything is funny and one gets grumpy. They also divide into 4 groups: binge drinkers, steady drinkers, social drinkers and teetotallers. The binge drinkers gulp their drinks fast and then pass out, waking up the next day to repeat the whole process. Like humans the heaviest drinkers were young males. The monkeys had a choice of neat alcohol, alcohol diluted with fruit juice, and non-alcoholic drinks. Like us, they preferred the diluted alcohol. Monkeys share 96% of their genes with humans and by studying monkey's drinking, the scientists are hoping to find out why we drink and whether some people have a genetic predisposition to becoming alcoholics.

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