Human ancestors evolved to consume ethanol in fermented fruits about 10 million years ago, before modern humans knew how to produce alcohol.
The ability to consume alcohol may have helped human ancestors consume rotten, fermented fruits falling to the forest floor. An understanding of this ability will help scientists find out when human ancestors moved to the ground instead of living on trees, NBC News said.
Human ancestors are able to use fermented rotten fruit as a source of food.(Artwork: Nicolle Rager Fuller / File NSF)
"Many aspects of modern human traits such as back pain, eating too much salt, sugar and fat are a consequence of evolution. We are looking to learn more about the relationships between children. Modern people for ethanol alcohol , " said Matthew Carrigan, a geneticist at Santa Fe College in Florida, USA.
To study how humans evolved to decompose alcohol, scientists focused on the gene coding for a group of digestive enzymes called ADH 4 . These digestive enzymes are found in the stomach, throat and tongue of many primates. They are capable of converting some alcohol as ethanol after absorbed into the body.
The team looked at ADH 4 genes from 28 different mammal species to test the appearance and development of this gene over time. The results showed that a genetic mutation about 10 million years ago helped human ancestors be able to break down ethanol alcohol.
Scientists also note that this mutation time coincides with the time of changing people's terrestrial lifestyle. The ability to consume ethanol helps human ancestors eat rotten fruit that falls to the ground, when other foods are scarce.