Biologist to discuss ‘drunken monkey’ hypothesis

October 11, 4:00p.m.

California biologist Robert Dudley will discuss evidence that human alcohol use and abuse can be traced back to fruit-eating primate ancestors during a University of Louisville talk Oct. 11.  

Dudley, integrative biology professor at University of California-Berkeley, will discuss “The Drunken Monkey: The Evolution of Alcoholism in Primates” at 4 p.m. in Room 139, Shumaker Research Building. A reception and light refreshments will follow the free, public lecture.

He is a guest of the UofL biology department’s Brown & Williamson lecture series. He will give a more scientifically oriented talk on “The Evolutionary Origins of Flight” at noon Oct. 12, also in Room 139, Shumaker Research Building. 

Dudley proposes that humans’ attraction to ethanol could stem from early primates’ reliance on fruit as a food source; ethanol occurs in ripe fruit, and primates may have developed a genetic attraction to the substance. 

The scientist, who also studies tropical insects and the biomechanics of animal flight, works with UC-Berkeley’s Essig Museum of Entomology and Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Much of his research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society.

For more information, contact Steve Yanoviak at 502-852-8261 or