Hello. I've been contemplating Terrance Mckenna's "stoned ape" theory for the last few days and I've wondered how realistic the whole idea is. While I think there's some half truths and opinions from McKenna, is the idea of psilocybin is the catalyst for language development based in reality at all?

> is the idea of psilocybin is the catalyst for language development based in reality at all?

In my view at least, not really. I do think it is an interesting idea, and the more general point that novel resources (including food) can change phenotypes (including behaviours) that could have important consequences for evolution (including cultural and social evolution) is rooted in solid science.

However, the idea that a particular mushroom was the catalyst for so much change in human evolution is largely speculation. So in scientific terms I would say it should be called the stoned ape "hypothesis". To me it doesn't look like a very plausible hypothesis, but I would also add that it has not really been tested by mainstream science (presumably because others share my view). That said - never say never!

Last edited by Alistair Wilson (29th Oct 2015 17:04:42)

I agree its speculative and unevidenced at best! I would also point out I can't see any obvious way of testing that "hypothesis" with language as the primary outcome.