Wild chimpanzees know where to get their alcoholic bush cocktails

Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Humans aren’t the only species to make and partake in alcoholic beverages.

Researchers have for the first time found proof that wild animals know about alcohol and where to get it.

Smart chimpanzees in Guinea harvest and drink fermented palm sap, using a leafy tool as a sponge to soak up the naturally occurring hooch.

Up to now, most anecdotes about wild wild nonhuman primates ingesting alcohol couldn’t be validated.

“The harvesting of fermented palm sap by wild chimpanzees at Bossou, Guinea, entails use of elementary technology – a leafy tool as a sponge,” the researchers say in the journal of the Royal Society.

“This ability to use tools may have enabled the last common ancestor of living apes and humans to exploit difficult-to-reach fermented resources.”

The chimps get their drinks from Raffia palms which produce fermented sap year-round. The natural sugars quickly ferment into ethanol.

Researchers witnessed several chimpanzees having a group drinking session.

“They use leaves to soak up and drink the sap,” the researchers write.

Raffia sap has a rich composition of vitamins and minerals and provides energy in the form of sugars, mostly sucrose and glucose.

The researchers believe the alcohol drinking isn’t accidental, a by product of food gathering. The chimps know what they’re after.

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