Sharing Discovery 9x12 Brush Pen on Bristol. Primitive man sharing the discovery of hallucinogenic mushrooms with his tribe. Stoned Ape Theory drawing

Exploring the Stoned Ape Theory in Art

This 9×12 brush pen drawing represents what I believe to be a glimpse into one of the most important pieces of mans history.

After walking the planet as early hominins for 5-7 million years, around 70,000 years ago man suddenly (relative term but the window is 10,000 years out of 7,000,000) had expansive development in language, symbolic thinking, creation of art/music/religious practices, and our social networks became complex. All of this is evidenced by cave paintings and archaeological finds.

The best science has offered prior to Terrence McKenna’s Stoned Ape Theory is that dietary improvement and complex social environments created by growing populations drove this development.

Terrence put forth another idea.

The Stoned Ape Theory in the Context of Human Evolution

The Stoned Ape Theory, proposed by ethnobotanist Terence McKenna, suggests that the consumption of psychoactive mushrooms (specifically Psilocybe cubensis) played a significant role in the evolution of Homo sapiens, particularly in the development of consciousness, language, and culture. While this theory is controversial and lacks empirical support, it provides an intriguing lens through which to explore human evolution.

The Stoned Ape Theory and Cognitive Evolution

Proposed Mechanisms of the Stoned Ape Theory:

  1. Increased Visual Acuity: Low doses of psilocybin mushrooms might have improved visual acuity, aiding in hunting and foraging.
  2. Enhanced Creativity and Problem-Solving: Psychoactive substances could have spurred novel thinking, leading to innovations in tool use and social organization.
  3. Development of Language and Culture: The theory posits that altered states of consciousness from consuming psychoactive substances could have contributed to the development of language, art, and religious practices by enhancing cognitive flexibility and social bonding.


If I knew, I would write a book, but I like the idea that some hungry hunter gatherer plucked some Cubes off of the turd of whatever ungulate (s)he was tracking…and spent the next 6 hours becoming more open minded and creative.

Even more, I like the idea that after making this discovery, (s)he shared it with their tribe…and suddenly human development expanded exponentially.

At the end of the day its a neat idea, and I am glad I drew it.

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