Drunk Apes Part of Our Family Tree?

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Ancient primates — a common ancestor of chimps, gorillas, and ourselves — started boozing about 10 million years ago, new research finds.

These primates developed the ability to metabolize ethanol, say researchers at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Gainesville, Fla. Chemist Steven Benner estimated the genetic code of extinct primates, based on DNA mapping from 27 modern primates.

Their likely drink of choice? Fermented fruit (juice) on the ground. Modern day orangutans, still tree-dwellers, cannot metabolize alcohol while chimps and gorillas can.

via msn NOW

Image: iStockphoto