The Stoned Ape Theory and the Dawn of Human Awareness: Did Our Ancient Ancestors Evolve by Getting High?
The origins of behavioral modernity and exactly what makes us human are subjects which have fascinated people for centuries. There is a plethora of theories as to which antiquated human ancestor initially displayed characteristics that set them aside from other apes, and the factors that this habits may have developed.
One concern that people have attempted to find a description for is how people evolved from our Homo erectus forefathers, doubling our brain size within a period of about 200,000 years– which in evolutionary terms is the blink of an eye.
Terence McKenna— a renowned mystic and psychonaut— broke the traditional mold when he presented his theory of how human beings advanced so quickly in such a brief space of time. The theory, which is referred to as the ‘stoned ape’ theory takes a look at the concern from outside the box. However is it really as ridiculous as some people believe, or is it possible McKenna was on to something?
What is the Stoned Ape Theory?
The Stoned Ape Theory provided by McKenna proposes that the evolutionary leap in between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens was a result of a surprising addition to the human diet Psilocybe cubensis (magic mushrooms).
It sounds outlandish initially– how could eating mushrooms potentially make such a big difference that Homo erectus doubled its brain size? Terrence McKenna based the theory on research study conducted in the 1960s by Roland Fischer, a researcher who carried out a lot of research on the effects of psychedelic drugs, including DMT.
He believed that Homo erectus were forced to turn to new food sources, consisting of magic mushrooms, as the environment in Africa changed. The results of the mushrooms implied that the thought procedures of Homo erectus quickly rearranged.
The Stoned Ape theory argues that the effects of magic mushrooms played a critical role in the advancement of the types. Increased clarity of vision would make searching much easier. Increased libido would imply they were more prolific.
Terrence McKenna likewise notes the impacts of magic mushrooms on modern humans– promoting the language portion of the brain and causing religious experiences would have opened the course towards behavioral modernity and if Homo erectus had comparable experiences he calls them an “evolutionary catalyst”.
Sceptics of the Stoned Ape Theory
With a theory as extravagant as the Stoned Ape theory, it is unsurprising that there has been a great deal of skepticism. One of the problems raised versus the theory is a purely useful one– magic mushrooms don’t grow in Africa. Individuals who think highly in the theory might argue that we don’t have evidence they did not grow in Africa thousands of years back, but it appears like when the recognized environment, flora, and animals are considered our ancestors probably did not encounter magic mushrooms at that time.
Secondly, Terrence McKenna either exaggerated or misinterpreted Fischer’s research. An essential part of the Stoned Ape theory centers on the impacts the mushrooms have on clarity of vision, however the research study only pointed to enhanced vision within really specific parameters– and it would not have actually been in a manner in which assisted improve the chances of an effective hunt. There is also no scientific proof that magic mushrooms have a result on sexual desire.
There are a number of errors in Terrence McKenna’s research into human development– a few of the dates he gives for migration are incorrect by more than 100,000 years. This makes it not likely that his picture of human forefathers being forced to source brand-new foods in altering climates is precise.
The results of magic mushrooms are short-term. Any major advancements in behavior or believed procedure would not have lasted longer than any other results of the mushrooms.
The theory certainly captures the creativity and its advocates believe staunchly in the Stoned Ape hypothesis, but the data and additional research study in this case indicates the theory being invalid. However whether they agree with the hypothesis or not, something that the majority of the discussions about the hypothesis does settle on is that Terrence McKenna appears to have had much fun performing the research.