Elephants can't hold their drink because they can't process it

One of the most famous scenes in the Disney classic animated movie Dumbo is when the baby elephant accidentally gets drunk. The idea of those giant mammals being inebriated has tickled us for a long time, with mythical stories about wild elephants going off on drunken rampages and passing out in the middle of a savanna. For a long time, scientists had assumed that elephants were too large to get drunk from rotting fruits. But today in The Conversation Canada, Mareike Janiak of the University of Calgary tells us about new research that shows the elephants lack the ability to process ethanol, which explains why they can get tipsy.

Also today:


Nehal El-Hadi

Science + Technology Editor

Non-Coronavirus News

Scientists had assumed that elephants could not become inebriated because of their size. (James Higham)

Elephants get drunk because they can’t metabolize alcohol like us

Mareike Janiak, University of Calgary

Elephants don't have the enzyme that allows humans to metabolize alcohol. This means that anecdotes about elephants getting drunk from rotten fruit may very well be true.

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Coronavirus News

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La Conversation Canada

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L’Organisation météorologique mondiale (OMM) a tiré la sonnette d’alarme en raison de l’impact de la pandémie sur les données d’observations qui alimentent les modèles de prévision météorologique.