From the cup of coffee that jumpstarts the day to dangerously addictive drugs, the recreational use of plants with psychoactive properties has a long history among humans.
But, as with many things, it turns out that other animals got there first.
From parrots to primates, consuming medicinal chemicals is an instinctive behaviour that helps countless organisms fight infection and treat disease. But the similarities don't end there: Like us, many creatures also consume substances that have no apparent benefit . . . except for inducing intoxication. In fact, animals have been using drugs for recreational purposes since prehistoric times. We may even have animals to thank for the idea – legend says that coffee was discovered by observing the behaviour of goats that had eaten it.
In his previous book, Strange Survivors, author and biologist Oné R. Pagán introduced readers to some of the truly bizarre strategies animals use to survive in the cutthroat world of natural selection. Now, in Drunk Flies and Stoned Dolphins, he sheds light on the surprising cravings they indulge when it's time to unwind.
In this book, you'll get an eye-opening glimpse into the mind-altering behaviour of the non-human members of the animal kingdom, spanning insects to elephants – including the dolphin species that apparently likes to pass around an intoxicating pufferfish as if they were sharing a joint.
Combining fascinating science with humor and enthusiasm, Pagán's latest is full of the kind of unforgettable stories and odd facts that you'll find yourself repeating to everyone you meet. From fruit fly happy hour to the evolutionary reasons behind nature's drugs, Drunk Flies and Stoned Dolphins takes you on a trip through the colourful world of animal intoxication – and along the way, explores what this science reveals about the surprising connections between all the world's creatures.
Dr Oné R. Pagán is a husband and a father, as well as a biology professor, scientist, blogger, and author. He is in absolute awe of the natural world, especially the fact that it can be understood through science and mathematics. He spends quite a bit of his time explaining science to family, students, and essentially anyone within earshot. He also loves learning about nature firsthand through his scientific research. He has published original work in various scientific journals including the International Journal of Developmental Biology, Neuroscience Letters, Toxicon, Neurochemical Research, and Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior among others. He holds an undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences and a Master's degree in Biochemistry, both from the University of Puerto Rico, and a Doctorate in Pharmacology with an emphasis in neurobiology, from Cornell University.