What in the World is the Stoned Ape Theory?
The Stoned Ape theory may sound ludicrous at first, but it has some deep scientific roots. You may have heard of this theory from the Joe Rogan Experience, or maybe you are just a big fan of psychedelic research.
Psychedelics have been the source for many out-of-the-box ideas, including this unique theory about human evolution.
The theory was first published by Terence McKenna in his 1992 novel Food of the Gods. McKenna was an excellent advocate for psychedelic substances, and he dedicated his entire career to breaking down the stigma surrounding these particular plants.
Terence McKenna was an important advocate for weed and psychedelics, his work helped to make these plants an important subject for scientific study.
While McKenna did receive plenty of criticism during his lifetime, it is undeniable that he had some truly original ideas. The Stoned Ape Theory is not just a creative idea about the origin of our species, it is a logical new idea that has its roots in scientific research.
What is the theory?
McKenna details his theory in a really compelling way in Food of the Gods. I would highly recommend checking this book out if you are at all interested in psychedelics.
McKenna’s theory basically breaks down what he believed caused our species to change from Homo erectus to Homo sapiens. The book explains that our ancient ancestors may have begun to evolve because of psilocybin mushrooms.
The Stoned Ape theory hypothesizes that primates would have added magical mushrooms to their diet. While these ancient primates were migrating out of the rainforest, they would have stumbled across herds of cattle. A specific strain of psilocybin mushrooms is common amongst cow manure, so it is likely that these migrating apes would have naturally found these plants.
McKenna goes on to explain how these plants would benefit developing primates. They would be an excellent food source, and they would have naturally made primates better hunters and gatherers.
The rapid growth of the brain still remains a mystery. Scientists don’t have an official answer for what caused primates to evolve at such a rapid pace. The Stoned Ape theory is a legitimate concept that I would love to see more researchers take seriously.
Of course, the theory was met with plenty of criticism. McKenna’s critics said that he did not cite nearly enough sources for his idea to be taken seriously at the time. However, even if he did not cite enough sources, the theory is still a valid hypothesis.
Who was Terence McKenna?
Terence McKenna was an ethnobotanist and creative thinker. He dedicated his life to understanding and advocating psychedelic plants. He wrote about fringe ideas, like the concept of time and consciousness.
Terence and his brother Dennis both were not afraid to research strange ideas. Together, they went on expeditions into the Amazon, searching for psychedelic plants to test their theories with.
The McKenna brothers believed in the use of psychedelic plants to expand consciousness. Terence has spoken at length about DMT, and the fractal patterns he has experienced with the substance.
Terence was born in 1946 and sadly passed away in 2000. In his lifetime, he really pushed the scientific research of psychedelic substances in significant ways. Today, his brother Dennis continues the work. Dennis McKenna has worked to legitimize the study and use of psilocybin as well as other psychedelic plants.
Together, the two brothers crafted the go-to guide for cultivating and growing magic mushrooms. They conducted valuable fieldwork around the world and applied that work in meaningful and lasting ways.
The Stoned Ape theory is just a hypothesis, but it is still a very interesting concept. The idea is primates evolved rapidly because at one point they added psilocybin mushrooms to their regular diets.
This article does not do the theory justice. I would recommend for anyone to read the writings of Terence McKenna. He was truly an original thinker.
Both of the McKenna brothers were not just drug advocates. They were well educated scientists, and they chose to study these magical plants and try to unlock more of their mysteries.
The scientific world needs more bold and original researchers like Terence and Dennis McKenna.
Food of the Gods is a must-read for anyone interested in these concepts. I know that the ‘Stoned Ape’ is just a theory, but it is still extremely captivating and well worth your time.