A brief incursion into humanity’s obsession with alcohol

Roughly 10 million years ago, some weird human ancestor mutated genes that expressed the alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme ADH4. Without this enzyme, alcohol couldn’t have been metabolized by the body. Our tree-clinging relatives found eating fermented fruits supplemented their diet, besides being pleasant, so those monkey-like creatures which could ingest alcohol were favored by natural selection. Today, humans can metabolize 40 times more ethanol than these first pioneers. In other words, it took a lot of training over many generations to get to where we are today.

Was it worth it?

Infographic source

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About Tibi Puiu

Tibi is a science journalist and co-founder of ZME Science. He writes mainly about emerging tech, physics, climate, and space. In his spare time, Tibi likes to make weird music on his computer and groom felines.

2 thoughts on “A brief incursion into humanity’s obsession with alcohol

  1. Pingback: Fruit and nectar eaters are nature’s most resilient alcohol drinkers – Anonymous Black

  2. Pingback: The frothy history of beer – Big Black Hole of Hope

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