Human Evolution and Dietary Ethanol [Texte]
Dudley & Maro
The “drunken monkey” hypothesis posits that attraction to ethanol derives from an evolutionary linkage among the sugars of ripe fruit, associated alcoholic fermentation by yeast, and ensuing consumption by human ancestors. First proposed in 2000, this concept has received increasing attention from the fields of animal sensory biology, primate foraging behavior, and molecular evolution. We undertook a review of English language citations subsequent to publication of the original paper and assessed research trends and future directions relative to natural dietary ethanol exposure in primates and other animals. Two major empirical themes emerge: attraction to and consumption of fermenting fruits (and nectar) by numerous vertebrates and invertebrates (e.g., Drosophila flies), and genomic evidence for natural selection consistent with sustained exposure to dietary ethanol in diverse taxa (including hominids and the genus Homo) over tens of millions of years. We also describe our current field studies in Uganda of ethanol content within fruits consumed by free-ranging chimpanzees, which suggest chronic low-level exposure to this psychoactive molecule in our closest living relatives.
Nutrition and its role in human evolution [Texte]
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. 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 ? [PDF]
Thomsen & 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) [PDF]
California state university, Northridge, 2016
In this thesis I investigate dietary ethanol ingestion in black–handed spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) on Barro Colorado Island, Panamá to evaluate the Drunken Monkey Hypothesis (Dudley 2000, 2002, 2004, 2014; Stephens and Dudley 2004). The Drunken Monkey Hypothesis proposes that humans’ attraction to, and predilection to consume, ethanol is derived from our early primate ancestors’ proclivity to seek out ethanol–laden fruits due to the nutritional rewards associated with ethanol
A population genomics insight into the Mediterranean origins of wine yeast domestication [Abstract]
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 [PDF]
Carrigan et al.
The evolving catalytic properties of these resurrected enzymes show that our ape ancestors gained a 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 arboreal ancestors did not efficiently oxidize ethanol. This change suggests that exposure to dietary sources of ethanol increased in hominids during the early stages of our adaptation to a terrestrial lifestyle. Because fruit collected from the forest floor is expected to contain higher concentrations of fermenting yeast and ethanol than similar fruits hanging on trees, this transition may also be the first time our ancestors were exposed to (and adapted to) substantial amounts of dietary ethanol.
The role of cult and feasting in the emergence of Neolithic communities. New evidence from Gobekli Tepe, south-eastern Turkey [PDF]
Dietrich et al.
At the dawn of the Neolithic,hunter-gatherers congregating at Göbekli Tepe created social and ideological cohesion through the carving of decorated pillars, dancing, feasting—and, almost certainly, the drinking of beer made from fermented wild crops
Ancient Egyptian herbal wines [PDF]
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 [Abstract]
Annual review of anthropology, 2006
Alcohol is a special form of embodied material culture and the most widely used psychoactive agent in the world. It has been a fundamentally important social, economic, political, and religious artifact for millennia. This review assesses trends in the anthropological engagement with alcohol during the past two decades since the Annual Review last covered this subject. It highlights the growing archaeological contributions to the field, as well as recent developments by sociocultural anthropologists and social historians. Increasing historicization has been a useful corrective to the earlier functionalist emphasis on the socially integrative role of drinking. Recent studies tend to employ a more strategic/agentive analytical framework and treat drinking through the lens of practice, politics, and gender. Moreover, alcohol has come to be seen as an important component of the political economy and a commodity centrally implicated in strategies of colonialism and postcolonial struggles over state power and household relations of authority.
The drunken monkey hypothesis [PDF]
Stephens & Dudley
Natural history, 2005
Evolutionary Origins of Human Alcoholism in Primate Frugivory [Abstract]
The Quarterly Review of Biology, 2000
Evolutionary origins of alcohol consumption have rarely been considered in studies of ethanol addiction. However, the occurrence of ethanol in ripe and decaying fruit and the substantial heritability of alcoholism in humans suggest an important historical association between primate frugivory and alcohol consumption. Olfactory localization of ripe fruit via volatilized alcohols, the use of ethanol as an appetitive stimulant, and the consumption of fruits with substantial ethanol content potentially characterize all frugivorous primates, including hominoids and the lineage leading to modern humans. Patterns of alcohol use by humans in contemporary environments may thus reflect a maladaptive co-option of ancestral nutritional strategies. Although diverse factors contribute to the expression of alcoholism as a clinical syndrome, historical selection for the consumption of ethanol in the course of frugivory can be viewed as a subtle yet pervasive evolutionary influence on modern humans.