Alcoholic Vervet Monkeys! - Weird Nature
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This is the sleepy island of Saint Kitts in the Caribbean.
Three hundred years ago, vervet monkeys were brought here from West Africa along with slaves serving the rum industry.
Escaped monkeys acquired a taste for alcohol by eating fermented sugar cane left in the fields.
Today they satisfy their thirst by raiding local bars.
They have learned to be sneaky. Picking the right moment is everything.
For years the monkeys have been studied for insight into our own drinking habits.
Just as we vary in our taste for alcohol, so do the monkeys.
Some do anything for an alcoholic cocktail.
But just how some people at teetotal, so are some monkeys.
These reject alcohol in favor of soft drink.
Significantly the percentage of teetotal monkeys matches the non-drinkers in the human population.
In line with human habits most drink in moderation. 12% are steady drinkers and 5% drink to the last drop.
This similarity between us shows that a liking for alcohol is determined mainly by our genes.
After each daily raid other human parallels soon appear.
But unlike us, monkeys that are heavy drinkers make better leaders, respected by other monkeys.
They seem to tolerate leaders that monkey around.
Like monkeys our taste for alcohol began when we scoured the forest for ripe fermenting fruit.
Food and alcohol became linked with intoxicating effect.