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Our 9,000-Year Love Affair With Booze

Evidence of alcoholic beverages goes back at least 9,000 years, and we may eventually find evidence even older. Even before that, our primate ancestors were attracted to fermented fruit for its good qualities: calories, easy digestion, and the good feeling it gave them. Historians once considered alcohol as just another consumable, but it's becoming more clear that alcohol was one of the driving forces behind a lot of developments and upheavals of human civilization.

Indirectly, we may have the nutritional benefits of beer to thank for the invention of writing, and some of the world’s earliest cities—for the dawn of history, in other words. Adelheid Otto, an archaeologist at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich who co-directs excavations at Tall Bazi, thinks the nutrients that fermenting added to early grain made Mesopotamian civilization viable, providing basic vitamins missing from what was otherwise a depressingly bad diet. “They had bread and barley porridge, plus maybe some meat at feasts. Nutrition was very bad,” she says. “But as soon as you have beer, you have everything you need to develop really well. I’m convinced this is why the first high culture arose in the Near East.”

Alcohol had a big role in the rise of agriculture and communities, then trade, then war. Read what we we know about the role of alcohol in human history at National Geographic. -via Digg

(Image credit: Brian Finke/National Geographic)

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Rminds me of the time seeing robins floundering around on the campus at the U of Maine. The birds had eaten European mountain ash fruit that had fallen to the ground and had fermented. Drunk robins.
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