Nutrition and its role in human evolution
James et al.
Journal of internal medicine, 2019
Alcohol sensitivity is a quantitative trait determined by the cumulative effects of multiple segregating genes and their interactions with the environment 50. The generation of alcohol by fermenting plants seems to have been an early feature of our evolution and has served a variety of functions including for religious and medicinal purposes and as an uncontaminated source of liquid as well as having social and economic attributes.
Do chimpanzees like alcohol ?
Ruth Thomsen and Anja Zschoke
International journal of psychological research
In the last common ancestor of modern humans and the three living African ape species a genetic mutation occurred that increased the rate that alcohol was metabolized. This fact initially supports the « drunken monkey hypothesis » which states that natural selection should have favoured individuals that routinely incorporated alcohol-and thus energy-rich fruits into their diet. However, random observations from apes living in the wild do not provide evidence for such kind of choosey feeding behaviours. To investigate whether or not the living great apes have evolved a preference of alcohol-rich fruits over normal ripe fruits we performed a bioassay with captive chimpanzees offering them apple puree with and without rum flavour. Initially, the chimpanzees were curious about the alcohol-flavoured apple puree and feed on it when it was presented to them for the very first time. Once tasted, however, they lost interest in it indicating that chimpanzees are able to perceive, but do not prefer alcohol-rich fruits more than non-alcoholic fruits. Thus, we think that for our hominoid ancestors from the late Miocene the possibility to consume alcohol-rich fruits was helpful to survive periods of food scarcity, but did not lead to a genetic predisposition for alcohol.
Dietary ethanol ingestion by free ranging spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi): an evaluation of the drunken monkey hypothesis (mémoire de master)
California state university, Northridge, 2016
A population genomics insight into the Mediterranean origins of wine yeast domestication
Almeida et al.
Molecular ecology, 2015
The production of fermented beverages and foods by humans is contemporary with the onset and expansion of agriculture, with the consequent accumulation of foodstuffs and the need to avoid their deterioration. The presence of ethanol and many other metabolites contributed to preserve dietary goods, enhanced their palatability and digestibility and opened the way for the production of a myriad of alcoholic beverages that became important in social habits of many civilizations
Hominids adapted to metabolize ethanol long before human-directed fermentation
Carrigan et al.
The evolving catalytic properties ofthese resurrected enzymes show that our ape ancestors gaineda digestive dehydrogenase enzyme capable of metabolizing ethanol near the time that they began using the forest floor, about 10million y ago. The ADH4 enzyme in our more ancient and arborealancestors did not efficiently oxidize ethanol. This change suggeststhat exposure to dietary sources of ethanol increased in hominidsduring the early stages of our adaptation to a terrestrial lifestyle.Because fruit collected from the forest floor is expected to containhigher concentrations of fermenting yeast and ethanol than similarfruits hanging on trees, this transition may also be the first time ourancestors were exposed to (and adapted to) substantial amountsof dietary ethanol.
The role of cult and feasting in theemergence of Neolithic communities. New evidence from Gobekli Tepe,south-eastern Turkey
Dietrich et al.
At the dawn of the Neolithic,hunter-gatherers congregating at G ̈obekli Tepecreated social and ideological cohesion throughthe carving of decorated pillars, dancing,feasting—and, almost certainly, the drinkingof beer made from fermented wild crops
Ancient Egyptian herbal wines
McGovern et al.
Chemical analyses of ancient organics absorbed into pottery jars from the beginning of advanced ancient Egyptian culture, ca. 3150 B.C., and continuing for millennia have revealed that a range of natural products—specifically, herbs and tree resins—were dispensed by grape wine. These findings provide chemical evidence for ancient Egyptian organic medicinal remedies, previously only ambiguously documented in medical papyri dating back to ca. 1850 B.C. They illustrate how humans around the world, probably for millions of years, have exploited their natural environments for effective plant remedies, whose active compounds have recently begun to be isolated by modern analytical techniques.
Alcohol: Anthropological/Archaeological Perspectives
Annual review of anthropology, 2006
The drunken monkey hypothesis
Dustin Stephens & Robert Dudley
Natural history, 2005