By Giorgio Samorini, Rob Montgomery

An Italian ethnobotanist explores the impressive propensity of untamed animals to search out and use psychoactive elements.

• Throws out behaviorist theories that declare animals don't have any realization.

• bargains a totally new figuring out of the function psychedelics play within the improvement of cognizance in all species.

• unearths drug use to be a traditional intuition.

From caffeine-dependent goats to nectar addicted ants, the animal country deals striking examples of untamed animals and bugs searching out and eating the psychoactive ingredients of their environments. writer Giorgio Samorini explores this little-known phenomenon and means that, faraway from being restrained to people, the will to adventure altered states of awareness is a traditional force shared through all residing beings and that animals interact in those behaviors intentionally. Rejecting the Western cultural assumption that utilizing medications is a detrimental motion or the results of an sickness, Samorini opens our eyes to the chance that beings who eat psychedelics--whether people or animals--contribute to the evolution in their species by way of developing solely new styles of habit that at last can be followed by way of different contributors of that species. The author's attention-grabbing bills of mushroom-loving reindeer, intoxicated birds, and drunken elephants make sure that readers won't ever view the animal international in really an identical means back.

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Extra resources for Animals and Psychedelics: The Natural World and the Instinct to Alter Consciousness

Sample text

As far as we know, this behavior was first described in 1873 in California, as a result of observing the actions of horses and cows browsing at pasture. The most curious aspect of their behavior was that once an animal had learned to differentiate the specific grass that brought on intoxication from the numerous other kinds of grass it ingested, it would habitually seek out and consume that particular plant. Foals, calves, and other offspring of mothers who eat crazy grass are likewise addicted and soon learn to distinguish and seek out the intoxicating plant.

It requires a level of sophistication and learning thatmodern botanists rarely possess. What can we conclude from the fact that there are ants engaged in an elaborate relationship with a species of beetle that they host in their nests? A Coleopter beetle whose inebriating abdominal secretions are so desired by the ants that, should the colony be disturbed, they forego rescuing their own larvae to protect the beetle, and even under nonemergency conditions the ants drug themselves to the point of losing their ability to work and creating sterile queens.

I would have made little headway in my research without Ronald K. Siegel’s brilliant text Intoxication: Life in Pursuit of Artificial Paradise, published in the United States in 1989. Siegel has conducted research and observations of animals ingesting drugs both in the field and in the laboratory; in his book he has gathered a dense body of documentation on the subject, which I have referred to again and again in the course of my own work. 1 Crazed Cows One of the most well known and striking examples of addictive behavior—that is, of true drug addiction—in animals involves locoweed, also called crazy grass or crazy seeds.

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