Stoned Ape: Did Magic Mushrooms Influence Human Evolution?

Stoned Ape Theory

Stoned Ape: Did Magic Mushrooms Influence Human Evolution?

In a study to be published in the journal John Hopkins University Press, scientists from Hebrew University and the University of Zurich found that psilocybin-containing mushrooms may have been the catalysts for human evolution. It was found that folktales from 15 tribes from across the world over 3 continents have stories about how the mushrooms were given to them by a divine being.

What is a magic mushroom?

A magic hallucinogenic mushroom is a type of fungus that produces compounds called psilocybin. Psilocybin is the active ingredient that creates hallucinations in people who consume it. It has been noted in certain cultures that people who consume this fungus often experience visions, emotions, and thoughts that are not grounded in reality.

How did humans evolve from mushrooms?

Human brains may have evolved from eating magic mushrooms —and they may have led to the development of language and religion. The idea that mushrooms could have kickstarted human evolution has been suggested by researchers before but now researchers have used advances in genetic sequencing to study the psilocybin-producing mushrooms. The findings suggest that psilocybin may have a direct effect on brain activity and behaviour. Researchers have discovered the possible origins of language and religion in ancient fungi. According to new research, our ancestors may have evolved from consuming psychedelic mushrooms.

The roots of human evolution

A recent study suggests that the origins of human evolution may have been driven by a mushroom containing a hallucinogenic drug. The study, conducted at the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business, found that there was a correlation between hallucinogenic mushrooms being present in ice-age sites and early human species. “The first thing that humans do when they arrive in a new environment is to look for the types of food and water they’ve relied on before,” said Robert C. Beckstead, professor at the Lundquist College of Business. “What we’re suggesting is that mushrooms were one of those things.” Beckstead and his co-author, Mark L. Strauss, studied the geographic distribution of Psilocybe mushrooms in Eurasia, North America, South America, and western Africa and found that the geographic distribution of Psilocybe mushrooms matched that of humans. The study also found a strong association between the presence of Psilocybe mushrooms and the presence of specific human cultural artifacts. For example, all four locations where mushroom remains were identified at an early date also contained evidence for the production of ceramic figurines.

Does the psychedelic drug psilocybin have a significant effect on human evolution?

It is theorized that psilocybin, the psychedelic drug found in magic mushrooms, played a huge part in shaping human evolution. It would have been difficult for early humans to navigate uncharted territory while hungry and afraid of predators without some kind of “spiritual” encouragement. Psilocybin is also thought to be responsible for our capacity for language, art, and spirituality.


This research provides compelling evidence that some of the worst characteristics of modern society are at least partly the result of the heavy hand of humanity’s symbiotic partner. This suggests that, in order to preserve our planet for future generations, we must engage with Gaia, not just through individual acts like recycling but by trying to understand her ways and live in harmony with them.

For a more in-depth article, head on over to Inverse and read
A scientist resurfaces a psychedelic retelling of human evolution.

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