The Stoned Ape Theory and the Dawn of Human Consciousness: Did Our Prehistoric Ancestors Evolve by Getting High?
The origins of behavioral modernity and exactly what makes us human are subjects which have actually captivated people for hundreds of years. There is a huge selection of theories regarding which archaic human forefather first displayed characteristics that set them aside from other apes, and the reasons that this habits might have progressed.
One question that people have searched for an explanation for is how humans 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 conventional mold when he provided his theory of how humans advanced so rapidly in such a short space of time. The theory, which is referred to as the ‘stoned ape’ theory takes a look at the question from outside the box. Is it actually as outrageous as some individuals think, or is it possible Terrence McKenna was on to something?
What is the Stoned Ape Theory?
The Stoned Ape Theory presented by Terrence McKenna proposes that the evolutionary leap in between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens was a result of an unexpected addition to the human diet plan Psilocybe cubensis (magic mushrooms).
It sounds extravagant in the beginning– how could eating mushrooms potentially make such a huge distinction that Homo erectus doubled its brain size? Terrence McKenna based the theory on research carried out in the 1960s by Roland Fischer, a researcher who carried out a lot of research study on the results of psychedelic drugs.
He believed that Homo erectus were required to turn to new food sources, consisting of magic mushrooms, as the climate in Africa altered. The effects of the mushrooms implied that the idea processes of Homo erectus rapidly reorganized.
The Stoned Ape theory argues that the impacts of magic mushrooms played an essential role in the evolution of the species. Increased clearness of vision would make searching simpler. Increased sexual desire would imply they were more prolific.
Terrence McKenna likewise keeps in mind the effects of magic mushrooms on contemporary humans– stimulating the language part of the brain and inducing spiritual 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 outlandish as the Stoned Ape theory, it is unsurprising that there has actually been a lot of suspicion. Among the issues raised versus the theory is a simply practical one– magic mushrooms do not grow in Africa. People who think strongly in the theory might argue that we do not have evidence they did not grow in Africa thousands of years ago, however it looks like when the recognized environment, flora, and animals are considered our forefathers most likely did not come across magic mushrooms at that time.
Terrence McKenna either exaggerated or misinterpreted Fischer’s research. An essential part of the Stoned Ape theory centers on the effects the mushrooms have on clearness of vision, however the research only pointed to improved vision within very specific criteria– and it would not have actually been in a way that helped enhance the chances of a successful hunt. There is also no scientific proof that magic mushrooms have a result on sexual desire.
There are a number of inaccuracies in Terrence McKenna’s research into human development– some of the dates he gives for migration are incorrect by more than 100,000 years. This makes it unlikely that his photo of human ancestors being required to source brand-new foods in altering environments is accurate.
Finally, the effects of magic mushrooms are short-term. Any significant advancements in behavior or thought process would not have lasted longer than any other impacts of the mushrooms.
The theory definitely catches the creativity and its supporters believe staunchly in the Stoned Ape hypothesis, however the data and further research study in this case indicates the theory being invalid. Whether they agree with the hypothesis or not, one thing that most of the conversations about the hypothesis does agree on is that Terrence McKenna appears to have had much enjoyable performing the research.