Our ape ancestors first tasted alcohol around 10 million years ago, according a study.
Researchers have discovered a mutation which arose around this time which meant we had an enhanced ability to metabolize alcohol.
This could have helped our ancestors survive snacking on old fermented fruit during times when food was scarce.
Some models have dated the use of alcohol to around 9,000 years ago, suggesting that alcoholism in modern humans might reflect an incomplete adaptation.
However, the latest work by Matthew A. Carrigan of Santa Fe College in Gainesville and colleagues found that a single genetic mutation, appearing 10 million years ago, may have endowed our ancestors with an enhanced ability to metabolize ethanol.
The findings are published in the journal PNAS.
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