Monkeys drink more alcohol when housed alone, and some like to end a long day in the lab with a boozy cocktail, according to a new analysis of alcohol consumption among members of a rhesus macaque social group.
These and other observed behaviors strongly correspond with human patterns of alcohol use. Researchers attribute a predisposition to alcohol abuse in some monkeys and people to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
In the study subjects, "blood alcohol levels often exceeded the .08 percent level, which is the legal limit for most states in the U.S.," said Scott Chen, one of the study’s authors and a researcher at the National Institutes of Health Animal Center in Maryland.
The study, recently published in the journal Methods, also found that booze affects monkeys much the same way it affects people.
"It was not unusual to see some of the monkeys stumble and fall, sway, and vomit," Chen added. "In a few of our heavy drinkers, they would drink until they fell asleep."