Sunday, 24 July 2016

Nectartini? This Little Lemur Has a Taste for Alcohol

By Mindy Weisberger, Senior Writer | July 20, 2016 12:40pm ET

Researchers have found that a species of nocturnal lemur sips on fermented nectar, and this little creature prefers its drinks strong.

In fact, the new study suggests that the taste for alcohol may be more widespread in the primate lineage than scientists previously thought, and may be linked to genetic factors that shaped the diets of early humans. 

Scientists had already discovered a gene mutation in both humans and African great apes that enables the speedy digestion of alcohol; this was likely an adaptation that evolved to accommodate fermented foods in our ancestors' diets.

Now, researchers have investigated another species, called the aye-aye, that bears the same mutation, known as A294V.
Probing for nectar

In the new study, the researchers wanted to investigate whether alcohol was part of the aye-ayes' regular diet. Aye-ayes are nocturnal lemurs native to Madagascar. They're known for their exceptionally elongated finger that they use to find and extract beetle larvae from wood.

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