Alcoholic monkeys in the Caribbean mimic human drinking habits

were brought to the island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean over 300 years by slave traders. Their species proliferated on the island and made themselves quite at home. The monkeys also became quite fond of the fermented sugarcane on the island that had been used for producing rum (this is the Caribbean, after all, synonymous to tourists with 'rum') and have had a taste for the sweet nectar ever since.

These days, the mischievous primates are sating their thirst for the good stuff by stealing from tourists and raiding local bars. Funny thing is, studies of the monkeys drinking habits have given researchers insight in our own patterns of boozing.

The video below from a BBC documentary about the Vervets on St. Kitts talks about how the monkeys show similar percentages, compared to humans, of those who drink and do not drink, and of those who abstain from alcohol altogether.

"Significantly, the percentage of teetotaler monkeys matches the nondrinkers in the human population. In line with human habits, most drink in moderation, 12% are steady drinkers, and 5% drink to the last drop. The similarity between us shows that our liking for alcohol is determined by our genes."

Besides showing us that we're uncannily similar to these primates, this case is also an example of an inadvertent outcome from introducing a non-native species into a foreign ecosystem.

...And watching monkeys stumble around drunkenly is just plain amusing.

Video after the break:

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