If You Are Looking For The Link Between Chimps And Humans, I Think We’ve Found It…

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According to a BBC report earlier this week, researchers in Guinea have discovered that chimpanzee’s have a taste for the strong stuff! The chimps have been dipping into the local supply of naturally-occurring palm wine, a fermented sap that averages about 3% alcohol but can get as strong as 6.9%. Dr. Kimberley Hockings reported that some chimpanzees are drinking up to 85 ml of ethanol, which is equivalent to a bottle of wine! It’s bizarre!

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In this case, chimps have been dipping into the collection jugs of palm wine from the raffia palm tree. They drink the wine by folding up the leaves that protect the harvesting containers and using them as a sponge to soak up the wine. Then, they suck the alcohol out of the saturated sponge.

But how are they affected by the alcohol?

The chimps are physically able to metabolize the alcohol like humans do. Some of the chimps will wander around at night, restless from their drinking. Dr. Hockings also says:

“[They] displayed behavioural signs of inebriation, including falling asleep shortly after drinking,”


All of this sounds awfully human, doesn’t it? If you’ve ever thought about the relationship between primates and humans, this will have you puzzled. If chimps are drinking alcohol, what does that tell us about our own origins? There are plans to further study the behavioral climates surrounding these chimps and their drinking habit. For now, it’s an interesting observation, a fascinating find, and a great story to tell at the bar.

Here’s to you, chimps!

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Will Stefanski is a left-handed bibliophile who now owns a cherry-red Schwinn Traveler III. On summer afternoons you can almost see his vermilion shadow passing you at great speeds.