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Professor Robert Dudley of UC-Berkeley and the "Drunken Monkey Hypothesis"

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Aired on Monday, July 21st.

On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with Robert Dudley, who's a Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Prof. Dudley tells us about his interesting "drunken monkey hypothesis," which (per its Wikipedia entry) "proposes that human attraction to ethanol may have a genetic basis due to the high dependence of the primate ancestor of Homo sapiens on fruit as a food source. Ethanol naturally occurs in ripe and overripe fruit and consequently early primates developed a genetically based attraction to the substance...." Prof. Dudley has a new book out on this pioneering idea -- it's called "The Drunken Monkey: Why We Drink and Abuse Alcohol" (University of California Press) -- and he discusses the book with us today. This "persuasive and engaging" (Library Journal) work employs an evolutionary interpretation to explain the persistence of alcohol in human experience -- for better and for worse -- and thereby points out, for example, that the process of fermentation is actually (and tellingly) as old as agriculture itself. "The Drunken Monkey" also explores the broader implications of this fascinating new hypothesis while also presenting an interdisciplinary approach to both the medical and social impacts of alcoholism through the ages.

Rich Fisher passed through KWGS about thirty years ago, and just never left. Today, he is the general manager of Public Radio Tulsa, and the host of KWGS’s public affairs program, StudioTulsa, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in August 2012 . As host of StudioTulsa, Rich has conducted roughly four thousand long-form interviews with local, national, and international figures in the arts, humanities, sciences, and government. Very few interviews have gone smoothly. Despite this, he has been honored for his work by several organizations including the Governor's Arts Award for Media by the State Arts Council, a Harwelden Award from the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, and was named one of the “99 Great Things About Oklahoma” in 2000 by Oklahoma Today magazine.
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