Study: Chimps Like to Drink Alcohol

posted: 06/10/15
by: Danny Clemens
Young chimp drinking
Liz Leyden/iStock

Alcohol isn't just for humans anymore -- even chimps need to take the edge off every once in a while, according a new study from Oxford Brookes University.

Researchers observed wild chimpanzees in West Africa habitually consuming fermented sap from the raffia palm. Humans have long known how to harvest the so-called "palm wine" from the raffia: the sugary sap ferments over a matter of days, producing a sweet alcoholic beverage that is widely consumed throughout Africa and Asia.

Just like humans, some chimps had trouble controlling themselves after the booze started flowing -- researchers noted that some of the chimpanzees consumed large amounts of alcohol, and subsequently displayed "behavioral signs of inebriation" (like falling asleep soon after they started drinking).

Chimps of all ages, sexes and classes were observed drinking the palm wine, which is consumed with a large leaf used as a spoon of sorts.

"This new use of elementary technology shows once again how clever and enterprising humankind's nearest living relations are," remarked study lead author Dr. Kimberley Hockings.

Click here to read Hockings' research, which is published in the current edition of the journal Royal Society Open Science.

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