Scientists hope their work will aid understanding of how alcohol affects humans
Drunk birds and drunk people have a lot in common. That’s the finding of a new study by Oregon Health and Science University researchers, who fed juice spiked with alcohol to zebra finches in order to understand how booze affects their birdsongs.
Unsurprisingly, the finches’ songs were a bit less eloquent after they reached a blood alcohol level of .08 percent ( close to the legal driving limit for humans in most states). Researchers found that the birds began to slur the syllables of their songs, making their voices quieter and less organized. Some parts of songs were more affected by the alcohol than others, indicating that booze may affect separate parts of birds’ brains differently. The findings could help researchers better understand how the human body processes alcohol because the way birds learn to sing and humans learn to speak is similar.