Recent research suggests that dinosaurs may perhaps have experienced the mind altering effects of ergot – a drug similar to LSD in it’s effects – after a 100 million year old sample of ergot fungus has been discovered.
A piece of amber excavated from a mine in Myanmar by German paleontologist Joerg Wunderlich encases a small ergot fungus that sits on top of a grass spikelet. The sample has been dated to 100 million years ago. The discovery of the grass spikelet is significant in and of itself since it suggests that grasslands evolved alongside dinosaurs rather than much later after their extinction as was previously believed. This indicates that the dinosaurs of the Cretaceous period would have had access to grasses for grazing, but in addition they would have potentially grazed on the mind altering ergot fungus as well.
When consumed by humans, the grass parasite ergot can cause mind altering effects like those of LSD, hallucinations, symptoms of poisoning, constricting of the blood vessels and muscle spasms among other symptoms. Some even believe that ergot poisoning is the culprit behind the hysteria behind the Salem witch trials. So just what effect would this parasite have on creatures as large as the Cretaceous dinosaurs? There really is no telling…at least not yet.
What are your thoughts?