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Offlineabsolute zero
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Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product?
    #3186926 - 09/27/04 05:14 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Just one of those questions that's been flowing through my brain...

Why did mushrooms develop the capacity to produce psiloc(yb)in?
What is the evolutionary benefit of expending energy to produce these alkaloids?
Why is alkaloid content high in pins, yet production slows dramatically when the cap opens?
Is it a defense mechanism to keep animals from devouring them until they can drop their spores?

That's all I can think of for the moment, but I'd love to see a conversations on it...


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Offlineld50negative1
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Re: Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product? [Re: absolute zero]
    #3186951 - 09/27/04 05:21 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

I don't really think it would be a deterrent because the effects take a well enough emount of time so as to be extremely inefficient - now, a terrible taste would make more sense... or if the shroom killed the animal so that the bastard wouldn't eat anymore of its own kind (shroom)


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InvisibleDiploidM
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Re: Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product? [Re: absolute zero]
    #3186971 - 09/27/04 05:26 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

One possible explanation is defense against predation. Animals don't appear to have the neurological machinery needed to make sense of a trip, and for most, it seems to be an unpleasant experience. One trip, and they never munch on mushrooms again.

This idea is exploited by humans in areas where wild animals (wolves and such) attack livestock on ranches and farms. Rather than kill the problem animal(s), one of the livestock is killed and infused with an agent that causes intense nausea and vomiting.

The problem predator eats the sacrificed livestock and becomes violently ill for a while. After that, the predator makes a very strong association between puking and livestock, and never comes anywhere near the farm again.

It's the same process that makes people puke when they smell puke or see other people tossing their cookies. :tongue:


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1) You can't get married to your spouse who is the same sex as you.
2) You can't have an abortion no matter how much you don't want a child.
3) You can't have a certain plant in your possession or you'll get locked up with a rapist and a murderer.

4) We need a smaller, less-intrusive government.


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OfflinePsiloman
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Re: Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product? [Re: ld50negative1]
    #3187533 - 09/27/04 07:27 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

" don't really think it would be a deterrent because the effects take a well enough emount of time so as to be extremely inefficient - now, a terrible taste would make more sense... or if the shroom killed the animal so that the bastard wouldn't eat anymore of its own kind (shroom)
"

Yes,it would MAKE MORE SENSE for a human,or if we accept that evolution has consciousness and can make educated prethought choices.

From what we know so far evolution does not work this way.Of course a very bad taste would be more LOGICAL,even better a compound that causes sever irritation and swelling maybe some tissue damage,i guess every animal would have grasped the meaning "Eat mushrooms-Lotsa pain-Lotsa burning-Dont eat the fucker again".

THe thing isthat evolution more or less works like "if it works dont fix it".Apparently psilocybin could work as a detterent somehow although it may not be logical to us..Maybe its a trait usefull in older times (think distant evolutionary past) that simply wasnts eliminated and it stays on.Dont just think with "current events".Maybe psilocybin is an effective poison/detterent for a grazer/predator we will never known/existed in the past and was a big threat to this mushrooms...

I liked diploids example as well,very innovative method of keeping predators away from livestock!


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InvisibleATWAR
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Re: Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product? [Re: absolute zero]
    #3187592 - 09/27/04 07:42 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

I know this has been mentioned before:

The mushrooms that developed these chemicals were attractive to animals (and man), not a deterrent. Animals (and man) pick them, aiding in spore dispersal, and therefore survival of the species...


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OfflineSin Bad
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Re: Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product? [Re: ATWAR]
    #3188829 - 09/27/04 11:51 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

It does seem a little strange that psilocybin would be used as a detterent...as mentioned, by the time it takes the drug to take effect, the mushroom is likey to have been consumed, and it may be hard for the animal to make a link between the unpleasant feeling and what it ate.

This is also true of animals that were attracked to mushrooms - could they really make an association with what they ate half and hour or so ago with the sensation they were experiencing now? Maybe they could - apparently Reindeer go for Fly Agaric for this reason...

I think psiloman has a good point... there are many things that still exist today that have evolved, even though they have little or no use in this day and age. For example in humans, wisdom teeth, and appendix are not needed, yet we have not lost them yet, and probably never will unless appendcitis starts killing off huge amounts of people.


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OfflineIndiaShroomer
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Re: Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product? [Re: absolute zero]
    #3190315 - 09/28/04 04:52 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

There is one thing we may have missed.

Whatever makes you say the psilocybin/psilocin is a deterrant to predation.

Maybe it has nothing to do with it at all, maybe it is a metabolic by-product like urea.
Since most of our friends are coprophilic, they have to deal with high ammonia throughout their growing and fruiting cycles.
In my opinion there must be a connection to the growing environment, of course it could still be plain deterrence.

You might want to look at this paper:
http://www.shroomery.org/index/par/23937

There is mention of how the same species of mushroom can have drastic change in psychoactive components depending on where it grows.

Of course, this does not preclude deterrence. Since the probable predators would also differ in each environment.
Am i making sense :smile:

stoned pixies


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OfflinePsiloman
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Re: Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product? [Re: IndiaShroomer]
    #3190605 - 09/28/04 08:34 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Yes you are making complete sense!

This could stand true but we should take into account the "trade offs".

Apparently to code for the enzymes that make psilocybin in the DNA and to make those enzymes some energy must be spend. If this process taxes energetically the cell then there is big chance that the species will perish dying to more "energetically efficient " species or simply offsprings will survive that by mutation will have those traits eliminated....

Psilocybin could be a byproduct of metabolism (very likely if its not "heavy" energywise for the cell to make),it could be a detterent (i can see that working,and putting some ATP spent to the survival of the species!) ,it could be an attractant for other (Very nice method of propagation ,puts ATP expenditure in good use as well!).

It could be all of them,it could be none of them...Its a good topic to discuss ,but be sure to expect a bundle of opinions and never a single answer...

My answer to the original question can be summarise to : "We dont exactly know and its not possible to know for sure,but we some very interesting theories worth discussing even academically!"


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OfflineFloyd_
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Re: Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product? [Re: absolute zero]
    #3190670 - 09/28/04 09:43 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

one thing that hasn't been mentioned. These alkaloids take awhile to produce effects in large animals yes. But on small insects the effect might be immediate. i've read a paper before (i wish i had it) about DMT and insect larval growth. It seems for a particular insect (silk worm i believe) DMT stopped the larval stage from pupating OR the eggs from hatching, i can't remeber which.

I'm sure that if you ran some tests on the effect of psilocybe alkaloids on insects you'd find some clear cut evolutionary advantages.

which btw i don't think i've ever seen those little gnats inhabiting a psilocybe.


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Invisiblenoxy
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Re: Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product? [Re: absolute zero] * 1
    #3191595 - 09/28/04 03:22 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

It is very interesting indeed.. Consider for a moment that psilocybin is the phosphoric acid ester of psilocin and is the only known indole derivative occurring in nature that contains this novel phosphoric acid radical, and psilocin is in itself only one hydroxy molocule different from serotonin a chemical found in the human brain that cotrols mood, emotion, sleep, appetite, learning and memory. Is there a connection?


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OfflineHambo
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Re: Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product? [Re: noxy]
    #3191779 - 09/28/04 04:04 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Hmm, theres a zillion species of all manner of things with stuff being produced in them. Additionally, we've have several tens of thousand years? to make the connection. Not to get too carried away.. :smile:


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InvisiblePinback
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Re: Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product? [Re: noxy]
    #3192084 - 09/28/04 05:27 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

That sounds like a new version of what Terence McKenna said: "psilocybin is the only 4-substituted indole in nature". Of course he was wrong; ergotamine is one counter-example, a spider poison another. Even if it was true, I don't understand the significance of such a fact. I'm sure many other species (plants, fungi, animals...) contain unique metabolites.

The comparison to serotonin is not really valid either. First of all, there is more difference than the position of the hydroxy group. Psilocin is dimethylated on the amine. The only connection they have is that they are most probably metabolites of tryptophan. There are in fact fruits that contain serotonin (bananas for example), but I don't see anyone suggesting that they have some mystical origin.

What I think about the psilocin/psilocybin production is that we don't really know, and might never learn. Some hypotheses are better and more probable than other though.


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Offlinemidway
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Re: Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product? [Re: Pinback]
    #3192151 - 09/28/04 05:43 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Ive always indulged myself in the belief that psilocybin producing fungi are designed for cohabitation and cultivation by humans..remember that some species of ants cultivate particular fungi for food.


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Offlineabsolute zero
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Re: Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product? [Re: absolute zero]
    #3195626 - 09/29/04 02:49 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

When replying, please keep in mind that the point of this thread was not to come to a clear conclusion, rather to spark discussion, and to come across some other ideas about the questions at hand...

With that said, from the posts so far, I have a few comments...

In regards to the time of action of the alkaloids, I do not think that this would be an issue as a deterrant... Taste aversion can develop whether you get sick or experience something unpleasant immediately or if there is a relatively short timeframe between cause and effect... I've read about how doctors give a special type of hard candy to children who are about to undergo chemotherapy so that they won't develop a taste aversion to their normal favorite meals. Also, from personal experience, I have eaten eggs that made me sick, but the effect didn't come until 2-3 hours after I had consumed them... it was a good 6 months after that before I was able to stomach eggs again...

One thing mentioned in the thread, that I think seems more feasible as a deterrant theory is the comment that said it might be a deterrant to insects, not to humans or animals... Has anyone ever witnessed any kind of insect laying eggs on, or eating psychoactive fungi?

I can identify with everyone who is set on the theory that these alkaloids survived because they made the fungi more attractive to man and animal, thus ensuring survival as long as man retained an interest in the species. Its a very nice theory to think about; its warm and fuzzy feeling... Is the effectiveness of distributing spores really increased that drastically if they are picked as opposed to just letting the wind carry them?


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InvisibleShmoppy McGillicuddy
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Re: Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product? [Re: absolute zero]
    #3196255 - 09/29/04 05:38 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Well, I wish the psilocybin was a deterrent to insects, because fungus gnats are a bitch to get rid of. They live on the fungal tissue.

As to the tripping being a deterrent, I think that the only reason you were disgusted by eggs was the fact that you knew that it was eggs which made you sick. For an animal, I doubt they would be able to make the distinction if the action is any more than 15 minutes after ingestion, and even then, tripping is not really an obviously bad feeling. It would be a pretty pathetic line of defense if your deterrent could possibly be desireable.

As for the picking idea, I think that its more for the eating of the carpophore, not the actual picking action. Spores survive the ruminant digestive system, and then germinate after being crapped out. Its an easier way to distribute genetic material.

There was some mutation that caused the fungus to produce psilocybin/cin, and because ruminants will eat psychoactive mushrooms, their spores spread farther, and were dropped in their preferred substrate. As for woodlovers, its just the dispersal of spores by various woodland creatures that caused them to keep the trait. This was a definite advantage, so the mushrooms prospered, and we get what we see today.


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Offlineabsolute zero
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Re: Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product? [Re: Shmoppy McGillicuddy]
    #3197758 - 09/29/04 11:48 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

I'll settle for that answer :smile: Very well stated


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Invisiblephobey
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Re: Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product? [Re: absolute zero]
    #3198884 - 09/30/04 05:22 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

Zero__Glass said:
Why is alkaloid content high in pins, yet production slows dramatically when the cap opens?




I think the content throughout the cycle from pin to fullgrown shroom is exactly the same. Only when bigger its disperced throught the whole shroom hence there is less alkaloids by weight but not less potent or anything. Anyways i?m just guessing here and have nothing to back it up.

Peace


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OfflineSilven
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Re: Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product? [Re: Shmoppy McGillicuddy]
    #3199135 - 09/30/04 09:32 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Schmoppy wrote:
Quote:

As to the tripping being a deterrent, I think that the only reason you were disgusted by eggs was the fact that you knew that it was eggs which made you sick. For an animal, I doubt they would be able to make the distinction if the action is any more than 15 minutes after ingestion, and even then, tripping is not really an obviously bad feeling. It would be a pretty pathetic line of defense if your deterrent could possibly be desireable.




I'd have to disagree about tripping being a pathetic deterrent.  Say that something small, the size of a full grown raccoon, ate a few mushrooms and was having a level 3 trip by our definition.  The woods could potentially be a VERY dangerous place for that little animal to be completely delerious and unknowing of what is going on.

Also, remember that some animals have a very good memory and I think it is very possible they could relate the eating of a mushroom to their sickness.  I highly doubt that non-intellectual animals could find much enjoyment through being delerious or hallucinating.  It could cause some serious problems to them when they need their heightened senses to navigate safely through their forest home.

Though for my theory, an animal would have to ingest more than just one mushroom, and the bitter taste of mushrooms could possibly deter that animal from eating any more, I think psilocybin is just a second defense for mushrooms from bigger animals that eat more than one mushroom, where-as the psilocin/psilocybin is more of a front-line for insects that are succeptible to it's effects.

----------------------------------------------------

I also saw an experiment with spiders that might be somewhat related to this thread.  It showed the effects of multiple drugs on the same type of spider.  It used marijuana, LSD, heroin, and a few other less known compounds.  The THC caused the spider to make sporadic webs, lacking the intricate design that most spiders make when their webs are un-touched by something that could break it.  The heroin made the web even more sporadic with large holes where there should have been web, and the LSD did basically the same as the heroin.  The other drugs caused this to a lesser effect, but about the same as the THC.

(now I blow my hits on my spider friend that lives on my front porch :wink: )

Anyway, hopefully I said something atleast slightly intelligent or useful.

- Silven :mushroom2:


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Born: 10/31/83, which makes me a Scorpio.

1) Scorpios are the most highly sexed of all the signs of the zodiac.
2) Scorpios are prone to excesses: booze, drugs, sex, bad puns, etc.
They usually exploit the weaknesses of others, who fall victim to
their capacity for total lust & sexual abberation.
3) Scorpios possess great intellectual curiosity & creative talent. They
think they are rebels & are arrogant, proud, conceited, and worth every
penny of it.

What do you bring to the table?


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OfflineNNY
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Re: Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product? [Re: Silven]
    #3199275 - 09/30/04 10:46 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

IIRC the LSD spider made a beautiful web.


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InvisibleHarveyWalbanger
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Re: Psilocybin as an evolutionary bi-product? [Re: absolute zero]
    #3199476 - 09/30/04 12:21 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Acording to what I've read, lots of organisms seem to enjoy the intoxication.... It might be the bovines enjoying intoxication.... but then again, It might not have enything to do with the psilocybin at all, it might just be the flies and the spores. (see the link, by MJshroomer)


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