Navigation Links
Drunken elephants: The marula fruit myth

Dispelling years of anecdotes in travelogues, the popular press, and scholarly works, biologists from the University of Bristol argue that it is nearly impossible for elephants to become intoxicated from eating the fruit of the marula tree.

"Elephants display many behavioral characteristics viewed as positive traits in humans, often causing us to identify with them in anthropomorphic ways," write Steve Morris, David Humphreys, and Dan Reynolds in a forthcoming paper in Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. "The tipsy pachyderm [is] a view bolstered perhaps by a mutual desire for the fruits of the marula tree."

Based on reports of elephants accessing stores of wine or beer, the three-ton mammals clearly have a taste for alcohol. They also have a demonstrated fondness for marula fruit, gathering around trees when the fruit is in season. Fallen marula fruit may naturally ferment to an ethanol content of approximately 3 percent after three or four days.

However, elephants have shown a clear preference for marula fruit still on the tree. Disregarding a large fruit pit, the metabolism of alcohol over time, and the unlikeliness of total ethanol absorption, a three-ton elephant gorging itself quickly on nothing but marula fruit would still be hard-pressed to ingest enough ethanol to reach a blood alcohol content indicative of inebriation.

"Assuming all other model factors are in favour of inebriation, the intoxication would minimally require that the elephant avoids drinking water, consumes a diet of only marula fruit at a rate of at least 400 percent normal maximum food intake, and with a mean alcohol content of at least 3 percent," write the authors.

Instead, the authors posit that an intoxicant other than alcohol may be responsible for "tipsy" behavior. Elephants also eat the bark of the marula tree, which is home to a beetle pupae traditionally used to poison arrow tips.


'"/>

Source:University of Chicago Press Journals


Page: 1

Related biology news :

1. Master gene controls healing of skin in fruit flies and mammals
2. UI researcher studies deafness in fruit flies, humans
3. Gap-climbing fruit flies reveal components of goal-driven behaviors
4. Hormones and growth: The control of body size and developmental growth rate in fruit flies
5. Aloe vera coating may prolong freshness, safety of fruits and vegetables
6. Hanging baskets of sex and death help fruit growers
7. Researchers find gland that tells fruit flies when to stop growing
8. Past experience of pheromones induces dominant courtship behavior in fruit flies
9. A resetting signal keeps circadian rhythm on track in Drosophila fruit flies
10. UCSD study finds anthrax toxins also harmful to fruit flies
11. New gene reduces retinal degeneration in fruit flies
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/14/2016)... 14, 2016 NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ... market, announces the airing of a new series of commercials ... of March 21 st .  The commercials will air on ... Squawk on the Street show. --> NXTD ) ... mobile commerce market, announces the airing of a new series ...
(Date:3/11/2016)... -- http://www.apimages.com ) - --> http://www.apimages.com ) ... AP Images ( http://www.apimages.com ) - Germany ... the new refugee identity cards. DERMALOG will be unveiling this device, ... Hanover next week.   --> Germany ... produce the new refugee identity cards. DERMALOG will be unveiling this ...
(Date:3/10/2016)... --> --> ... and Access Management Market by Component (Provisioning, Directory Services, ... Organization Size, by Deployment, by Vertical, and by Region ... market is estimated to grow from USD 7.20 Billion ... a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.2% during ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2016 , ... Global ... the GSCG Advisory Board. Ross is the founder of GSCG affiliate Kimera Labs in ... Miami, where he studied hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for hematologic disorders and the suppression ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... 2016 MedDay, a biotechnology company focused ... appointment of Catherine Moukheibir as Chairman of its Board of ... Jean Jacques Garaud , who contributed to the rapid development ... Catherine started her career in strategy consulting and ... London .  She held C-Suite level roles in ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ANGELES, Calif. (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2016 ... ... Angeles office of Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP as an associate in the ... prosecuting U.S. and international electrical, mechanical and electromechanical patent applications. He has an ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... April 26, 2016 , ... The European Patent Office (EPO) ... of three finalists for the European Inventor Award 2016 in the category "Non-European countries." ... announced at a ceremony in Lisbon on June 9th. , The human capacity to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: