Monday, 7 June 2010

The island of Drunk Monkeys

This is too cute to not pass on. It's a clip from a BBC documentary, that talks about St. Kitt Island, where some primates have a booze problem, and it's not the Humans...

I think the cool kids would call everything the monkeys are doing at the end a "Party Foul." Which is not to be confused with a Party Fowl.


themadengineer said...

I think the interesting portion is the way that the ratio of alcoholics, moderate drinkers, and teetotalers, is exactly the same as in humans, but I'm not sure if that truly implies genetic causation as the video claims. Twoyaks, you're a biologist, so you can probably shed greater light on the subject.
I've also heard reports that chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangatans deliberately seek out rotten fruit to get drunker than a skunk, so, yeah. Animals love getting wasted, just like humans do.

TwoYaks said...

Well, I think it's highly suspect on the face of it. I would need to read more into it, but here are some off the cuff thoughts
a) Who's to say it's not a coincidence? The world is full of them.
b) If you insist on biological meaning, the problem is that the percent of human non-drinkers is inflated by people not drinking for religious reasons. People who would, absent that, probably drink. Do these monkeys have the same religious factors leading to non-drinking?
c) Why would monkeys on this island and Humans in the US have the /same/ allele frequencies? That seems positively absurd. The selective environment around the two species is vastly different. Why would we expect convergence on the same ratios?

I think it's a coincidence. Honestly, if we search the earth enough, we'll find enough things that correlate without any mechanism at all. I recently read how sunspots predict the number of Republicans in office very strongly, but no one would argue that the geomagnetic happenings of Sol are influencing the political fortunes. Which is why I argue so strongly with my colleagues that we need mechanisms before we propose relationships.