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Stoned Ape Theory

In a previous article, we introduced you to the famous author and Mushroom cultivator, Terence Kemp McKenna. Together with his brother, he was the first to develop a reliable method to cultivate Mushrooms indoors. He was also a public speaker and developed many theories in the fields of botany and evolution related to Mushrooms. One of his theory is the so-called Stoned Ape theory. Read more about it in this article.

From Home Erectus to Homo Sapiens

Around 200.000 years ago, the human brain sharply increased in power. To this day, there is little information to understand why this happened exactly. Well, Mckenna had an interesting answer in his book Food of Gods

According to him, the forerunners of humans had to migrate up North due to climate change in the African continent. They would have followed large herds of cattle who left dung behind, which ultimately found its way into the diet of our ancestors. McKenna alleges that this dung must have had Psilocybe Cubensis growing in it, which would have been consumed. 

He hypothesised that low doses of these Mushrooms must have improved cognitive functions in the brain of Homo Erectus, thus developing into Homo Sapiens. 

Kicking into Overdrive

According to McKenna, the Psilocybin in Homo Erectus’ new diet became a catalyst from which many new brain functions sprang. He lists language, arts, philosophy among many other things that allegedly took off during that time. 

He also adds that the primates would have become more sexually curious, therefore mixing more genes and creating healthier offspring, while also developing a more harmonious personality in general. 

You could say that the brain function of our human ancestors kicked into overdrive due to the ingestion of psychedelic Mushrooms if you believe the theory, that is.  

Fact or fabrication?

The scientific community has criticized McKenna’s theory due to lack of citation of any paleontological evidence. 

There is no substantial evidence to suggest that Psilocybine makes the consumer more sexually curious or more harmonious. Civilisations that have been known for the use of Psilocybine in rituals have delivered evidence of the opposite. If we look at the Aztecs for example, we can see that while the use of Psylocybine was part of their civilization, violent behaviour was not rare

Nonetheless, McKenna’s theory is an interesting reminder that humans have always been drawn to mind-altering substances. Psychedelic experiences run through Ancient art, from pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures and Ancient Egyptians to the Psychedelic Art movement of the 1960s.


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