Opposable thumbs. The prefrontal cortex. Mind-altering substances. All things that would seem to make humans special and way better than those stupid, thumbless, sober animals.
We've told you before how there are animals that like drugs and alcohol, some even going so far as to seek it out. But it isn't just our love of being drunk that unites us with our furry and feathery cousins. It turns out, once they get wasted, animals start acting a lot like humans.
#5. They Are Terrible Singers
Let's face it, karaoke only exists for one reason, and that is because when people get drunk they think they are the next Mariah Carey when really they are lucky if they are the next William Hung.
Not even Mariah Carey is Mariah Carey anymore.
Since scientists get bored sometimes, Christopher Olson from the Oregon Health & Science University decided to find out if the birds he worked with would also suffer vocally if they had a little alcohol in them. So one day he added some to their juice, in an act that would be totally illegal if it involved humans, but it was just some finches, so fuck it.
The scientist said he wasn't even sure the finches would drink the booze, but that in the end they were "somewhat willing to consume it," which I can only assume means it took hours of peer pressure about how they needed to be cooler if lady finches were ever going to go out with them. The results were pretty much what you would expect, but way funnier because they are birds. The finches' songs became "less organized" and they slurred whatever the avian equivalent of words are.
Since getting birds drunk is obviously tons of fun, Olson isn't done yet. He plans on seeing if being drunk affects his finches' abilities to learn new songs as well, like when someone insists you duet with them on a song you have never heard before when you can barely keep the words in focus.
But it is not just birds that scientists have a weird obsession with getting wasted ...
#4. They Think They Are Awesome
Alcohol can make you feel so invincible that there have actually been PSAs reminding people that drinking does not turn you into a superhero.
It ends about as well as you would expect.
Now, thanks to scientists' bizarre fixation with getting fish drunk, we know that it isn't just humans who push themselves to the limit when they get a bit of liquid courage.
In a variety of experiments, researchers have tested how zebrafish change their behavior while under the influence. First, they built robots that looked like the fish's natural predators. When sober, the fish freaked out and ran for cover when the seemingly dangerous animals showed up. But after spiking their water with ethanol (the preferred way to get fish wasted) the zebrafish were totally chill about their impending doom. The scientists concluded that alcohol lowers fish anxiety the same way it does in humans.
In a later experiment, the scientists found that drunk zebrafish get almost hyperactive, zipping around their aquariums like they are the king of the world (too much alcohol eventually made them slow down, again, basically exactly like humans). When inebriated fish were put back into tanks with sober fish, they took over leadership roles, directing the whole school to zip around and be awesome. You might see parallels to this in your own life, if you have ever had a drunk friend enthusiastically convince you to go on some crazy middle-of-the-night road trip where you eventually wake up in a dumpster in New Jersey.
As if you could tell the difference.
#3. They Self-Medicate
People are seriously attached to self-medicating. It doesn't necessarily mean that you have an addiction, but how many times have you said, "I'm going to need a drink later." Whether it is students after a hard test, parents when their kid craps everywhere, or just a long day at work, everything difficult seems to call for a drink. And people with mental issues, especially depression, are even more likely to try to cover up their sadness with some form of legal or illegal drug, particularly alcohol.
So, if we do it all the time, how can we expect our closest relatives to be any different?
Monkey businessman needs to get wasted after a day like this.
In a study that once again proves scientists are just using their fancy degrees to get animals hilariously drunk, researchers at the National Institutes of Health Animal Center gave rhesus macaques access to alcohol. Many of the monkeys took to their new treat, drinking until they got sick or passed out. But part of the study involved keeping some macaques in cages with friends while others were all alone. And just like you would expect with humans, the lonely monkeys drank way more than the social ones. The macaques were also much more likely to drink in the evening than in the morning, as if they were relaxing after a hard day of monkeying around.