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Our modern day romance with alcohol started ten million years ago when apes developed a taste for fermented fruit, scientists say.
This ability to 'booze' became ingrained in the human genome as it proved incredibly advantageous for our ancestors.
Part - Bonding - Rituals - 'drunken - Hypothesis
This is because they could more easily take part in everyday bonding rituals, according to the 'drunken monkey hypothesis'.
Scientists have now pinpointed the time when this unique genetic mutation developed allowing some apes to metabolise ethanol - once a poisonous substance.
Tipsy - Apes - Inhibitions - Advantage
Getting tipsy meant these apes lost their inhibitions and learned to trust each other, which was a key evolutionary advantage.
Anthropologists and archaeologists met at a two-day conference at the British Academy in London to discuss this theory, according to an in-depth feature by Morning Advertiser.
'drunken - Hypothesis - Biologist - Robert - Dudley
The 'drunken monkey hypothesis' was first coined by Californian biologist Robert Dudley.
He said a common ancestor to both apes and humans had the genetic mutation.
Consumption - Societies - Disposition - Basis - Dr
'Alcohol consumption is a nearly universal characteristic of human societies, and that suggested to me there's a genetic disposition to drinking - and evolutionary basis', Dr Dudley said.
Matthew Carrigan from Santa Fe College in Florida suggested that this evolutionary adaptation happened around ten million years ago.
Ancestor - Tree - Canopy - Fruit - Floor
This was when our common ancestor left the tree canopy and started eating fermenting fruit on the forest floor.
He believes that being tipsy meant our ancestors were less self-conscious (and overripe fruit could have had an ABV level as high as eight per cent).
History - Consumption - Alcohol - People - Development
Throughout history, the consumption of alcohol may have helped people become more creative, advancing the development of language, art and religion.
In fact there is an emerging view among some archaeologists that the reason humans started cultivating grains such as wheat and barley was not to make bread...
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