Did Professor Steve Morris Get His Drunk-Alcoholic Elephant Theory Wrong?

Steve Morris has an interesting paper out in the Journal of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology arguing that elephants can not get drunk in the wild from eating rotting fruit from the Marula tree.


The suggestion that the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) becomes intoxicated from eating the fruit of the marula tree (Sclerocarya birrea) is an attractive, established, and persistent tale…Such tales, it seems, may result from “humanizing” elephant behavior.

He proves this with various models, and concludes an elephant would have to eat 4x their usual diet to become intoxicated.

Here is a link to a nice video from youtube apparently disproving his paper.

The image is of an elephant so drunk from Marula fruit that it walks into a tree. Click the picture above to see the whole video. Although, I could fully believe an aggressive nature cinematographer liquored up a bunch of animals for this video, I just kind of doubt it.

Link to paper:


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