posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 07:08 PM
There is an old story that Elephants get drunk when they eat fermented fruit rotting on the ground. A recent study debunks the drunken elephant
Folk lore has it elephants can get drunk by eating fermented fruit rotting on the ground, but a study debunks that claim, despite "eyewitness"
The study -- to appear in the March-April issue of the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology -- says anecdotes of drunken elephants go back
more than a century.
Steve Morris, a biologist at the University of Bristol in England and a co-author of the study told National Geographic News, "People just want to
believe in drunken elephants."
The tales say elephants eat rotten fruit that falls from African marula trees, a member of the same family as the mango.
But Morris says it's unlikely an elephant would eat fruit if it were rotten, more-or-less wait for it to ferment.
In any case, producing a liter of marula wine requires 200 fruits. So an elephant would have to eat more than 1,400 well-fermented fruits quite
quickly to start to get drunk.
National Geographic News commented: It may make for a good story and a durable myth, but you're not likely to ever see a drunken elephant sitting
under a marula tree.
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*Image from planetzot.com.