Remember the photo of a “drunk” gorilla that went viral a couple of weeks back? The one that punched a photographer and gave the internet an opportunity to make endless jokes about the gorilla uprising? Turns out, the gorilla wasn’t actually drunk. At least if you believe “scientists” who “know stuff” about “biology”.
Smithsonian magazine talked with scientists who scoffed at the idea that this gorilla was drunk from eating bamboo. News outlets that picked up the story uncritically repeated claims that when gorillas eat bamboo it ferments in their stomaches, causing them to get hammered. But the scientists pointed out to Smithsonian that if this was the case they should be getting drunk on the rest of their diet. There’s nothing particularly special about bamboo in this case.
So why did the gorilla punch the photographer? There’s some speculation that the gorilla was on a bit of a sugar high. But more importantly the photographer was probably just getting too close to the animal, which didn’t take kindly to some dumb human invading its space. We’ve all been there, bro. But use your words next time.
You can read the rest of Smithsonian magazine’s debunk over on their website.
Picture: Christophe Courteau