‘Stoned Ape’ Theory of Human Evolution
Pyschedelic Drugs and Dawn of Human Consciousness
A deceased ethnobotanist, stoner and psychedelics advocate, Terence McKenna apparently took Timothy Learys advice back in the 60s to 'turn on, tune in and drop out' and he believes that eons ago some of our ape-like ancestors did just the same thing. Of course, they didn't have access to high tech synthesized LSD, so had to settle for mushrooms growing out of cow dung.
These weren't any ordinary fungi, they were magical mushrooms as Willy Nelson or Cheech and Chong would be more than happy to demonstrate, they contained psilocybin, a psychedelic compound.
McKenna authored 'Food of the Gods ', an exploration of humanities harmonious history with plants, and their chemical properties effects on us, both contemporary and in pre-history. One of the unorthodox theories he concocted while in a state of psychedelic euphoria was the theory that Homo erectus and possibly other primitive versions of early man may have ingested the same magic mushrooms and other assorted psychedelics while on their evolutionary journey, that enabled them to evolve into Modern Homo-Sapiens.
McKenna labeled this the “Stoned Ape Hypothesis” and postulated that psilocybin may have caused the brains of primitive man to rapidly develop a higher consciousness in the form of information-processing and organizational capabilities which they didn't previously have. This rapid development in mental acuity was, as per McKenna jump started by our use of psychedelics.
As per McKenna, as primitive humans we “ate our way to higher consciousness”. Psilocybin, he stated, brought us “out of the animal mind and into the world of articulated speech and imagination.”
The scientific community had a hearty chuckle at Mckennas expense, but recently there has been a renewed interest. Dr. Paul Stamets, author of '6 way mushrooms can save our lives' and 'Fantastic Fungi' added to the McKenna theory by noting that about 200,000 years ago there was a sudden and dramatic increase in Human seniance, a doubling of the human brain size. Science has never adequately explained this. He stated that “there is no explanation for this sudden increase in the human brain.” - although ancient alien theorists have used this same argument to add credence to their theories of alien meddling. Social competition is the consensus of orthodox science.
McKennas theory was more than just a smokey puff from the old peace pipe, he based some of his theory on research conducted by Roland Fischer in the 1960s. Fischer conducted extensive research on the effects of psychedelic drugs. Fischer who passed in 1997 was 'an experimental researcher and psychopharmacologist known for his early work on psychedelic drugs, schizophrenia, the perception-hallucination continuum model of altered states of consciousness'. McKenna cited a study in which Fischer administered small amounts of psilocybin to graduate students, and demonstrated that their ability to detect the precise moment when a pair of parallel lines becomes skewed was significantly enhanced as a result of these small doses. Better vision would make hunting and evading creatures hunting you easier.
Increased sexual desire is another byproduct of psilocybin, any stoner will tell you mushrooms are not only an aphrodisiac in low doses, but also lead to heightened sexual experiences. These factors combined would help Homo Erectus stay erect and reproduce prolifically.