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Alien Fungi and the Origins of Humanity

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posted on Jul, 1 2007 @ 02:26 PM
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NOTE: This post touches upon the use of hallucinogenic drugs by indigenous cultures. There are precedends on ATS. I am NOT promoting or discussing the use of illegal drugs. I hope the Mods will inform me if I am crossing a line here.


As many of you know, ayahuasca is a traditional drug used by Amazonian shamans to induce visions and explore the spirit world. The active component of ayahuasca is '___', a tryptamine that is also secreted naturally by the human brain. In his book The Cosmic Serpent, anthropologist Jeremy Narby advances that the indigenous peoples of the Amazon gained their incredibly detailed knowledge of nature through the use of ayahuasca. According to his book, which echoes the belief of the indigenous people themselves, the plant would give one access to a spirit world, where concrete and useful information is conveyed to the tribe via the shaman.

Similarly, in his book Food of the Gods, psychedelic savant Terence Mckenna theorized that hallucinogenics such as '___' and psilocybin (a.k.a. magic mushrooms) might have played a larger role in the creation of human culture than anyone has dared to think in the past.

He postulates that by randomly foraging for food, the early hominids happened upon a naturally-occuring, powerful hallucinogen. The effects of the drug removed them from the fight-or-flight programming that had governed the species until then. Suddenly, imagination was born: for the first time, the hominids found themselves applying thought and feeling to no other purpose than perceiving, experiencing, watching... McKenna suggests that these early experiences brought about the famous "moment of convergence", when the disparate thought mechanisms of our hominid ancestors coalesced to give rise to human culture (aesthetics, religion, art, metaphorical language, etc.)

The theory is of course unproven (and unprovable), but IMO it is a valid explanation of convergence, an event in our evolutionary history whose cause remains a mystery to this day.

But McKenna goes one step further: he posits that these naturally-occurring plants have a teleological purpose. They appeared IN ORDER TO make us evolve. There is a kind of comic consciousness at work behind them. He even suggests that magic mushrooms actually constitute a kind of alien lifeform, a fungal traveller that moves from planet to planet, sowing the seeds of hyper-evolution wherever it goes.

In Terence's assessment, the black monolith of 2001: A Space Odyssey takes the form of a mushroom, come to visit us from the interstellar reaches, waking us up to a higher level of consciousness where the cosmos can be apprehended as such and where conscious evolution begins.

Whattaya think???

(edited for grammar)

[edit on 1-7-2007 by cambrian77]

[edit on 1-7-2007 by cambrian77]




posted on Jul, 1 2007 @ 02:35 PM
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I will certainly agree with you on the part that our early ancesters might have accidently consumed such plants or animals for that matter but saying that the fungus is some space born traveller visiting various planets is a bit farfetched.

Theres nowway the mushroom spores would be able to breakthrough our atmosphere without burning up.

I do think the mushrooms have evolved on their own much like the rest of the planet did.



posted on Jul, 1 2007 @ 02:59 PM
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Good point. But the fact is that lichens and bacteria have been shown to survive trips to space. You can find one case of this here.

I'm not saying that the mushrooms themselves could survive, but maybe their biological ancestor -- some kind of bacteria? -- could.

To me, this fits in with phycisist Michio Kaku's theory about a type 3 civilization (a civilization that has achieved godlike status by tapping directly into galactic energy). He says that such an advanced civilization would send probes out to help other species evolve. We tend to think of probes or drones as robots or some kind. But a super advanced civilization would most likely produce technology that is organic and biological, a chemical code programmed right into the fabric of nature.

Purely speculative, but the possibility of it all gives food for thought, IMO.



[edit on 1-7-2007 by cambrian77]



posted on Jul, 1 2007 @ 03:07 PM
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This is an interesting theory, do you have any websites or video links with information on this?



posted on Jul, 1 2007 @ 03:10 PM
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Thanks will checkout the link


Do you have anymore links on that theory about a type 3 civilisation?

Sure does sound intresting



posted on Jul, 1 2007 @ 03:19 PM
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The material in the original post comes from the two mentioned books: Food of the Gods by Terence McKenna and The Cosmic Serpent by Jeremy Narby. Both are excellent reads.

As far as the web goes, there Terence McKenna website contains tons of material, including audio/video. The wikipedia page on Terence McKenna (link) is also a good starting point for research. I've seen lots of McKenna videos, but I can't recall one that deals exclusively with his "stoned ape" theory.

Hope that helps. I'll look for actual video and audio when I get the chance.



posted on Jul, 1 2007 @ 03:26 PM
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Hey Fett,

The link below will take you to an excellent ATS thread containing an interview with Michio Kaku. In the first part of the interview, Kaku hammers out his theory of type 1, 2 and 3 civilizations. This guy is a respected theoretical physicist, not a crank!

www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on Jul, 1 2007 @ 04:29 PM
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Good one


Yes ive already checked him out on Wikipedia and he sure seems to be a capacity in his field of work.



posted on Jul, 1 2007 @ 05:05 PM
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I am an amateur mycologist (among many other things) and there was a serious book on mycology and fungi a few years back (and I am wracking me little brain trying to remember the title) that discussed the same theory but from a different angle. Theirs was that mushrooms and fungi appear suddenly in the fossil record; it seems that they just sort of appeared. They are a separate classification from both plants and animals and there are some; specifically the slime molds that go through an amoebic like stage where they can be mistaken for those microscopic animals. Given the fact that they can last for years without germinating or fruiting, can exist for long periods without air, water or soil or nutrients of any kind and can apparently live indefinitely and grow to enormous size (there are unified clusters of some mushrooms that cover hundreds of acres making them the largest life forms on earth, there is plenty of circumstancial evidence that they are not from around here.



posted on Jul, 1 2007 @ 05:37 PM
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Hi Grover,
That's pretty amazing. Please let us know the title of the book if it comes back to mind.

There is a theory in astrobiology called panspermia. It raises the possibility that life on earth might have come from elsewhere, most likely in the form of some kind of bacteria able to survive interstellar travel on board a meteor or comet.

In 2001, the Indian state of Kerala was subject to downpours of red rain. Scientists who studied samples of the rain discovered that it contained a type of spore, and that this spore may actually be extraterrestrial in origin:

[source]
A few hours before the first occurrence of the red rain, a sonic boom was reported by residents of Changanasserry in Kottayam district, accompanied by a flash of light. Louis and Kumar suggest that this was caused by the disintegration of a small comet entering the Earth's atmosphere, and that this comet contained large quantities of the red particles. Observations show that 85% of the red rain fell within 10 days of 25 July, and Louis and Kumar suggest that this is consistent with the settling of red particles released into the upper atmosphere by a cometary break-up. [/source]

Source: Red Rain in Kerala



posted on Jul, 1 2007 @ 07:49 PM
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Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds by George W. Hudler

There are actually quite a few on this subject but this was the book I was thinking of.



posted on Jul, 2 2007 @ 10:26 AM
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There are a couple of problems with the "stoned ape" theory.

First -- one of the fossil findings is something called "corprolites" -- fossilized poo. Mushrooms aren't completely digestable (unlike milk, for example) and spores and other woody parts show up in the corpolites. So ancient human poop doesn't support this idea.

The second problem is that fossil fungi show up back in the Devonian era, which is about the time of the rise of the fishes and a very long time before the age of the Dinosaurs and nearly a billion years before the rise of humans.

That's why it's not a widely accepted theory.



posted on Jul, 2 2007 @ 11:14 AM
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Originally posted by Byrd
There are a couple of problems with the "stoned ape" theory.


No doubt. It's purely speculative at this point.


First -- one of the fossil findings is something called "corprolites" -- fossilized poo. Mushrooms aren't completely digestable (unlike milk, for example) and spores and other woody parts show up in the corpolites. So ancient human poop doesn't support this idea.


I'm no paleontologist, but I know that use of hallucinogens is assumed to go way back by many experts. Investigators have found evidence of mushroom use in the artwork of the neolithic people of the Tassili region in Algeria: Mushroom Art

Obviously, this doesn't support the stoned ape theory directly, but it does suggest that shamanic drug-use may have played a big role in the beginning.

Another point is that a group of hominids would have to eat a whole lot of mushrooms for them to show up in the fossil record. In tribal cultures, hallucinogens are used mostly by shamans and only under special circumstances. It is not part of the everyday diet. Having said that, you're right: there is a lack of evidence.


The second problem is that fossil fungi show up back in the Devonian era, which is about the time of the rise of the fishes and a very long time before the age of the Dinosaurs and nearly a billion years before the rise of humans.


I have no doubt that fungi have been living on earth for much. much longer than humans. But that doesn't preclude the possibility that one specific type of fungus could have arrived later, from elsewhere. The simple fact that some spores could potentially survive interplanetary travel suggests that while some fungi certainly evolved on earth, others could be extraterrestrial in origin.


That's why it's not a widely accepted theory.


Absolutely. But it is one that is worth investigating, IMHO.



posted on Jul, 2 2007 @ 11:48 AM
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Originally posted by Byrd


First -- one of the fossil findings is something called "corprolites" -- fossilized poo. Mushrooms aren't completely digestable (unlike milk, for example) and spores and other woody parts show up in the corpolites. So ancient human poop doesn't support this idea.




I would expect something like this to be like looking for a needle in a haystack really, what are the chances of finding "poo" let alone "poo with spores" in it?



posted on Jul, 2 2007 @ 09:57 PM
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I have been in that bar in the original Star Wars (its waterfront bar) and I am sure I saw a stoned ape in it somewhere.


Actually fossilized poo is quite common.

[edit on 2-7-2007 by grover]



posted on Jul, 3 2007 @ 01:11 AM
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Originally posted by Fett Pinkus

Originally posted by Byrd
First -- one of the fossil findings is something called "corprolites" -- fossilized poo. Mushrooms aren't completely digestable (unlike milk, for example) and spores and other woody parts show up in the corpolites. So ancient human poop doesn't support this idea.


I would expect something like this to be like looking for a needle in a haystack really, what are the chances of finding "poo" let alone "poo with spores" in it?


Corprolites are surprisingly popular in paleontology, because of all the clues they give about lifestyles. We find Very Old Poo in cave shelters where humans lived... and yes, it's studied under the microscope. Some if it can be reconstituted... and it smells just about like you'd expect it to smell.

And that's how they know about hominid diets.



posted on Jul, 3 2007 @ 01:19 AM
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You make some good points.


Originally posted by cambrian77
I'm no paleontologist, but I know that use of hallucinogens is assumed to go way back by many experts. Investigators have found evidence of mushroom use in the artwork of the neolithic people of the Tassili region in Algeria

Actually, that's kind of a controversial interpretation. We do have here in the US images of datura (a hallucinogen) and we know other areas where psychoactive drugs were used. But we don't always know the interpretation of the patterns we see.

Some could be tribal markings or ceremonial paint designs. Some could refer to stars... or a thousand things that have nothing to do with drugs.


Obviously, this doesn't support the stoned ape theory directly, but it does suggest that shamanic drug-use may have played a big role in the beginning.

Actually, I'd agree with this. It's kind of traditional.


Another point is that a group of hominids would have to eat a whole lot of mushrooms for them to show up in the fossil record.

...which is what I thought they were suggesting with the "stoned ape" theory. That it wasn't just shamanistic, but rather common practice (it's been an age since I read McKenna, though.)


I have no doubt that fungi have been living on earth for much. much longer than humans. But that doesn't preclude the possibility that one specific type of fungus could have arrived later, from elsewhere. The simple fact that some spores could potentially survive interplanetary travel suggests that while some fungi certainly evolved on earth, others could be extraterrestrial in origin.

Genetic evidence shows that they evolved here on Earth. Fungi are opportunistic parasites, and they are in a place because they're cleaning up dead things. Humans didn't cultivate them until recently, and they aren't natural mushroom hosts.

While the stoned ape theory is interesting, it's just got too many holes in it, IMHO.



posted on Jul, 3 2007 @ 06:28 PM
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I guess McKenna's open to interpretation. The way I understood it was that some of the hominids consumed mushrooms, opening up new avenues of thought and imagination -- thinking that is not restricted to fight-or-flight responses. Those stoned apes then used the information gained from their trips to design tools, strategies, etc.; techniques which could then be taught to others without recourse to psilocybin. Those techniques entered the natural selection game afterwards, with stronger brains being favoured because they were better at this new type of thinking.

It's like in 2001: all it took was for one ape tribe to touch the black monolith. The memes spread from there.

It'd be interesting to know when hallucinogens actually do show up in the ancient poo, if at all. Any idea?



posted on Jul, 3 2007 @ 06:58 PM
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Byrd, you must admit that the genetic markers show that the early hominids that evolved into modern humans were a rather small group.

Now we need to realize that at this point there were many groups, roughly equal in ability, yet only one group took the leap towards modern man. Logic says that something out of the ordinary happened to that one group, and not to other groups.

Increased mutational changes are possible, but climatic ones less likely. The only other viably logical idea would be diet.

Now the problem is not widespread, so the fact that we have not found this particular group's camp is just that we have not found enough camps. And bear in mind, with a nomadic, or semi-nomadic species, we also have to locate the fecal matter in time as well as geography.

Let us take a mental time machine back to early Africa.

The group of twelve adults and seventeen juveniles have been forced to wander for the last week across the savanna in search of food during the late summer months. Food has been extremely scarce, and the have ben forced to include many bitter and unlikely things into their diet to survive.

This night, a young mother finds some strange mushrooms while scavenging for insects in a small treed area. She eats some, and gathers as much as she can carry to take back to her offspring.

Her two offspring, also very hungry, eat some of these plants and also share with some other juveniles in the group. Before morning, those who ate from the new source are sick and hallucinating, but able to travel with the band as the continue on in search of a reliable food source.

Out of some six or eight juveniles and one adult who ate this food, and in so doing, jump started their imaginations, some will go on in later years to lead the "tribe" and some to learn basic tool use. And at least one will remember the plant he ate, and watch for it in the future. He will be a shaman.

Now how hard would it be for us now to stumble across that single campsite where there was a one time widespread use, among a single group, of a certain plant?

So, while you make a valid argument against the theory of the "stoned ape", it is by no means a settled point.



posted on Jul, 5 2007 @ 04:28 PM
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Thanks NGC. Good points. Your story gives perspective on how this could have happened.




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