How did humans ever become so good at thinking? During evolution how did we become such free and functional thinkers? Was it our ability to cook meat over fire supplying our brains with essential fats? How about the fact early homo sapiens we were capable of living in various climates giving us the chance to socialize and expand? What ever you think the reason is. Our fascination for the way our brain functions and the way we think is overwhelming to say the least. But what would you say if someone was to tell you that Magic Mushrooms was one of the reasons for us becoming so successful in our cognitive ways? Well some scientist out there are entertaining the idea and are intrigued by the thought of stoned apes.
The Idea behind the stoned ape hypothesis is that early hominids came down from the trees around 6 million years ago, and with climate change they where able to move across the savannas giving them access to a variety of never seen flora and fauna. Amongst these never before seen creatures were animals like hippos, elephants, and rhinos. With these animals came their scat and, in their scat grew…. you guessed it…. magic mushrooms. These early primates are thought of to have eaten these magic mushrooms causing a leap in consciousness. Helping take them from canopy dwelling apes to the colonizing homo sapiens that we have all come to know. Although this is just an idea and not actually theorized it makes it incredibly difficult to gather any type of serious hype from the scientific community, besides the odd few that came up with the hypothesis.
With absolutely zero evidence that any apes where walking around stoned as balls some 6 million years ago, very little is ever put into the research of our ancient relatives eating these magic mushrooms. But what do we know now that can help us keep this entertaining thought going? Well we know that there are about 23 different primate species today (humans included) that eat mushrooms. Telling us that mushrooms have been consumed for many years and consumption is common amongst similar species. We know that magic mushrooms have a psychoactive ingredient called psilocybin which is shown to improve cognitive function, causing new neurons to form, and making new neuropaths in the brain. That along with heightened senses you now have a subject that can intake more knowledge. Many tests have been done on what happens to people who suffer from depression, anxiety, and PTSD after experiencing the effects of psilocybin, and the results were that majority of subjects where able to face their problems directly. Telling us that psilocybin is great at letting us self reflect and face fears. Which are ideal qualities of a dominate species.
With the evidence on what psilocybin can do for the human brain along with the theory of early hominids migrating across savannas, where copious amounts of Psilocbe cubensis (The magic mushrooms that grow in scat) grow, the stoned ape hypothesis is born. But even with all the doubt it is still quite interesting and honestly taking any possibility off the playing field could be a big mistake in trying to figure out more about who we are as humans. Mother nature has a very odd way of making things work and the one thing we do know is that we know fuck all. Even though we are not able to prove this hypothesis, just give the idea a thought and think about the possibilities. Thinking outside the box could be what allow us as humans to take the next leap in consciousness.
Stay Wild and Stay Curious