Debunking The Stoned Ape Theory

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There are many theories in regards to why humans developed the mental capacity we enjoy today. Some say it was the consumption of red meat. Some others the fact that we became bipedal and had to "think on our feet". Some others support the invention of cooking since it expanded massively the nutritional value of our food. And lastly, some support that getting stoned with psychotropic substances might have done the trick.

One aspect of this equation that everyone seems to miss is that human evolution is complicated and for the most part it remains a mystery. There are simply way too many variables to take into account. A lucky gene mutation might have contributed to the expansion of our brains as much as a massive change in the ecosystem that somehow forced our ancestors to perceive things differently. Nobody really knows and the answer will never be as simple as most people wish it to be.

Psychotropic mushrooms and other mind altering substances have always been consumed by mammals, regardless of their sapien ancenstry. Animals do like to get stoned as much as humans do. How come none of the other species never developed the mental capacity that early homo-sapiens did? This is the biggest hole in regards to the stoned aped theory. It is a nice hypothesis but lucks in many parts. These substances are unstable. Some get panic attacks, others see visions, others just feel joy or fear. Their effect is way too chaotic.

Most anthropologists are baffled not by the fact that we gained this form of intelligence but the speed upon which it occurred. There was a moment 200.000 years ago when we had no culture, almost no tools and suddenly out of nowhere everything exploded. This sudden event though is not as mysterious as we think it is. Modern examples of how we learn today can help us unravel the mystery. For this we have plenty of evidence. It is much like reverse engineering the basic facets upon which knowledge and what we call "grasp" of a subject occurs.

Learning is not linear. If you put 1 hour of reading you won't get an hour worth of expertise on the subject. If you have tried to master something in the past, especially something you have difficulty understanding at first, you would know that you often spent hundreds of hours before you started getting "eureka" moments. At one point, out of nowhere while being lost, confused and frustrated with the salad of juggled up information in your head, you wake up one morning and you find yourself getting it. You might have spent thousands of hours in intellectual chaos but in just one day everything gets sorted out and you feel like you are on top of the world.

This is exactly in my opinion what caused the explosion of human intellect. Steadily but slowly we started scribbling on cave walls, experimented with primitive types of cooking, started hunting in groups and getting real meat, we left the savannas, became bipedal, had early births with the brain developing mostly as part of the general ecosystem, invented fire. All these were parts and pieces and we couldn't put them together to make a decisive pivot. But one day, much like a young programmer that finally "masters" a language, tribes started having eureka moments by amassing all this knowledge into one mode of thinking that aided culture, survival and development. After that the curve of intelligence eased out and while steadily increasing it hasn't changed much. Same exact thing happens to one when they master something. They continue to grow but the rate of knowledge decreases even if their knowledge expands.

So there you have it. Humans did not just pick up some mushrooms and saw the light. Instead they slowly learned from their environment, carrying out the knowledge from one generation to the next, until one day one generation finally got it. The rest is history, or in our case, still a hypothesis.

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The problem with debunking the stoned ape is... many people have taken magic mushrooms and have come back with information that they didn't have before.

Wherefor was this information gained?
It happens too often to be a just an accident.


The next problem is the "stone age"

We are the 13th advanced civilization on earth.
Until we stop thinking that we are the most intelligent form of mankind ever, we will just keep coming up with stupid theories.

There are too many objects on this planet that we can't produce today. Both large and small objects. Objects that shouldn't exist if we are the pinnacle of advancement.

There are too many stories and signs that they were true that tell of ancient advanced civilizations.

So, taking that into account, our entire time line is seriously messed up.

And the idea that we evolved from apes either means we have no idea about evolution, or that we are just that colossally stupid.

I think you raise a good point that our evolution is likely not due to a single event and that there was probably a build up towards an eventual explosion of knowledge within our species. To add to that idea, I think that communication and language probably played a huge part as well. In large groups language is a necessity for group organization, knowledge transmission and even group bonding. Other ape species bond through grooming which tends to only work well in small groups because its basically a two organism activity. One individual can groom and be groomed by only a small number on other individuals because of obvious time constraints. In large groups, grooming practices fail as a bonding mechanism because it takes too much time to build relationships that way. Language and communication then becomes a natural bonding activity as stories can be shared to larger groups. Language also aids in passing on information and knowledge to others as its much faster then simply watching someone else do something. Similarly, as the group grows the more information is shared which has a compounding effect - like what you are discussing. This is also why the past few years in human existence have seen an explosion of information and technological advance. A large population with an effective and efficient communication system (the internet) allows massive amounts of knowledge and ideas to be shared rapidly.

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