Getting Drunk at Brunch No Longer a Characteristic of Hipsters Alone

Western chimpanzee young male 'Peley' aged 12 years playing - portrait
I know a great happy hour spot right around the corner. Photo: Fiona Rogers/Shah Rogers Photography/Corbis

A new study in the journal Royal Society Open Science shows that “the brunch is all the same.” Chimpanzees in Guinea have been known to start drinking when they wake up and follow the “drinking events” with naps and agitating tree swinging. Fermented sap from raffia palms can be easily sopped up with leaves and has the alcoholic content of a nice IPA

In the past 20 years, scientists counted up 51 instances of primates drinking in the country in West Africa. One male chimp named Foaf — which is chimpanzee for “McNulty” — was responsible for 14 or 15 of those happy hours himself. 

Plenty of other primates have been known to drink — with human help. Baboons in South Africa raid wineries before passing out. Tree shrews are another animal known to drink often — but they never get to the point of inebriation.

Researchers have been toying with a “drunken monkey hypothesis,” which states that natural selection has rewarded primates who drink — and are forced to seek out more food as a result. Not much non-anecdotal validation has been collected, but Pauline Spagnola is convinced that the theory holds up, at least for humans. She told a news crew at her 100th birthday party yesterday that she would have never made it this far without “a lot of booze.”

Chimps Getting Drunk, Too, Scientists Say