The Alcoholics of the Animal World | Surprising Science

The Smithsonian .com has a blog called Surprising Science. Here they post weird and exciting news about science–the natural world is awesome and, more often than not, strange and weird. Today we begin Chapter 7; Section 1: Glycolysis and Fermentation. I found a very pertinent post for the current chapter titled: The Alcoholics of the Animal World | Surprising Science:

“The moose likely got drunk eating apples fermenting on the ground and got stuck in the tree trying to get fresh fruit. “Drunken elk are common in Sweden during the autumn season when there are plenty of apples lying around on the ground and hanging from branches in Swedish gardens,” The Local states.”

This unfortunate and, admittedly, funny event is uncommon but not entirely rare. Who knew that apples could be lethal.

 

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56 thoughts on “The Alcoholics of the Animal World | Surprising Science

  1. I just read the entire article and it is very interesting to see that other animals get intoxicated too, when I think of alcohol, I think of a human getting intoxicated not another species of animal. I also read about other animals that are more resistant to alcohol, for example, the fruit bat, since it can tolerate alcohol it has an advantage because it can feed for a longer part of the year. I am sure that during the thousands of years during which they acquired their alcohol resistance many bats died intoxicated because they were not used to the fermented fruit. Humans have been drinking alcohol for thousands of years, for example, in the 1700s sailors on a long voyage would only drink beer because it was the only drink that would keep for such a long time, so I wonder if in the future humans will be naturally resistant to alcohol?

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    • We’ve been consuming alcohol for thousands of years. It would be very interesting to be able to compare hepatic enzymes (liver enzymes) from, say, ancient egyptians with those of humans from this century. But, then again, to find such enzymes would be very difficult. A very good question, Manuel.

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  2. i did not know that animals could get drunk !!! i only thought that animals could get drunk by drinking a big amount of fruits :p jeje this is interesting lol

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    • Some animals even enjoy getting drunk. This is the case with a famous chimp now diseased: Chimpsky. Remember, we ourselves are animals, and we share organs (such as livers) and tissues (such as blood) with many organisms, especially mammals like this unfortunate elk. Alcohol also affects brain tissue–apes, elks, and humans alike.

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  3. I am completely amused! I’ts very interesting to know that animal can get wasted by eating natural fruits! I never thought it possible to occur, until now. 🙂

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    • Remember that fermentation is a very common event in plantlife. Animals have been getting drunk for millions of years, ourselves included. The difference is that we know we are getting drunk. Also, this shows what the byproducts of a biochemical pathway can do; they can be responsible for very surprising–besides energetic molecules such as ATP.

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  4. I never thought that animals could get drunk just like us humans. I thought they could tell if something was hamrful for them due to their advance sensory systems. But yes I liked the article it was sad yet entertaining and informative.
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  5. even though it is common to see these animals intoxicated as said in the article it is still an accident these animals do not know the apples will get them drunk.. i find alot more curious when animals plan and understand what they are doing and enjoy it. like the reindeer in north america eat poisonous mushrooms and walk around like Disney characters.. or the jaguar that gnaws on a vain in south american rain forests called Banisteriopsis caapi this vain is a hallucinogenic the jaguar uses it to higher his senses when he hunts… guess humans aren’t the only ones who like to be in a different state of mind 😉

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  6. This is pritty wild I did not know animals could get drunk until we discust it in class I feel sorry for it when it got hit by a Car.:)

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  7. I believed that humans were the only ones who were able to get drunk or intoxicated by alcohol and is interesting to see that also animals could get drunk

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  8. I read that there are trees that grow in africa wich once year produce very juicy fruits that contain a large percentage of alcohol , because there is a shortage of water as soon as the fruits are ripe, animals come there to help protect them from the heat ..

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    • It’s incredible the amount of adaptations that plants have when they do not have many resources. Remember the alternative pathways discussed in class to the Calvin cycle? If it were not for those adaptations, plant life in places like deserts of Mexico and Southern United States would not be possible.

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  9. This is an interesting article because I learned how animals can get drunk by fermenting fruits. And how some animals can tolerate and some others can’t tolerate the effects of the alcahol.

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  10. I didn’t believe animals could get drunk until we studied this chapter, this is so interesting and amusing that only by eating fermented fruits animals could get as drunk as people! I would love to see some day a drunk animal!!

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  11. I’m impressed how such a simply thing such as a fruit can get an animal such as the moose to get drunk like human do. I knew about how wine and beer was done but it never got to my mind that just from falling apples you can get drunk or intoxicated. It really captured my attention this article.

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  12. wow, this is amazing. Getting drunk has been done by humans for a long time and it has been viewed as something unethical but actually it happens in nature. That moose died happy.

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    • Another evidence for the shared ancestry that exists between humans and mammals. If elks and humans can get drunk by consuming alcohol, that means that we share similarities, which are the product of natural selection.

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    • Even though it is amusing and amazing, when looked at from a biological—or biochemical—point of view, it is perfectly natural for a mammal, any mammal, to get drunk on fermented plants.

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  13. Many humans get drunk to have a good time or to forget about their problems. Animals get drunk but they have no knowledge of what can it be used for. What if animals had the same knowledge of alcohol as us humans? How do you think the world would be different if animals would do it to have a good time too?

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    • We have a very anthropocentric view of pleasure. I belive that animals–especially mammals of a high order, like the elk–are capable of experiencing pleasure; after all, endorphins–the neurotransmitters that are responsible for the feeling we get when we experience satisfaction, say from eating a piece of chocolate, or from the smell of someone we love–are not exclusive of primates such as ouselves. Brain chemistry in mammals is basically the same. The thing that changes is the arrangement of the neural pathways; something we know too little about for suggesting that we humans have an exclusive grasp on what ‘pleasure’ or a ‘good time’ is.

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    • A very interesting find indeed. This proves that scientific is vital to face the challenges that climated change brings. India is doing their part. Thanks for sharing this valuable scientifc paper. Will read.

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  14. I never thought that animals could get drunk, not even by accident. I find it very interesting that they can get drunk by just eating a fermented fruit, maybe someday animals can have the knowledge to know when a fruit may be fermented or not and maybe they won’t die.

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  15. I’ve always wondered how fruits can be fermented by just falling from a tree. Now Knowing that we aren’t the only ones who could get drunk, Im rethinking all thoughts on alcohol.

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  16. I was amazed when I read this article because I honestly thought humans were the only ones that could get drunk but know that I see this at first it was really funny imagining the animal drunk ahhaha . This article was really interesting 🙂

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  17. I honestly thought animals couldn’t get drunk and less from eating an apple. It’s definetly something new to me and it’s very interesting.

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  18. Even though we might see it as a very funny thing, it as it has already been said , an unfortunate thing. Obviously i say it because the poor animal died , but also because these poor things do not know about fermentation is and what alcohol does to their systems.

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  19. interestinggg i did not know animals could get drunk ! its cool cuz thats like another thing that they can do like humans. but can they control it like if their already feeling dizzy or something can they be able to stop ?

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  20. When I think of alcohol I think of humans and not animals but we humans are animals. I’ve seen videos of animals that enjoy getting drunk and they are very intresting. I read the article and it was very interesting everything it pointed out.

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    • The Marula Tree: Nature’s Bar. Not only do animals get drunk too, they also get hangovers. The hungover monkey, with its paw on its head–priceless. Excellent contribution, Alexandra.

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  21. This really amazed me. I didn’t know that animals could get drunk and ironically by eating. Everything in excess may lead to bad consequences. Many of the things that organisms digest inside their bodies have components that our body absorbs and are bad for health if it is digested in excess. This is a very curious fact because I have never heard of this before.

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