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18 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 10 January 2014

Alcohol has been part of human civilisation for thousands of years. Evidence from pottery residues suggests that people in ancient China may have been enjoying the delights of wine as long ago as 9,000 years. But our attraction to the ethanol molecule may go back much further than that – to a time when our distant ancestors were eating nothing but fruit.

So why do we drink the stuff? And why do some people have problems controlling their drinking?

(Image: Scenes of debauchery and drunkenness in "Gin Lane and Beer Street" London, circa 1751. Credit: Getty Images)



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