Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Animals Getting High

According to Ronald K. Siegel, a pharmacologist who has studied intoxication in animals, it is common for animals deliberately to experiment with plant toxins; when an intoxicant is found, the animal will return to the source repeatedly, sometimes with disastrous consequences.

Cattle will develop a taste for locoweed that can prove fatal; bighorn sheep will grind their teeth to useless nubs scraping a hallucinogenic lichen off ledge rock. Siegel suggests that some of these adventurous animals serves as our Virgils in the garden of psychoactive plants. Goats, who will try a little bit of anything, probably deserve credit for the discovery of coffee: Abyssinian herders in the tenth century observed that their animals would become particularly frisky after nibbling the shrub's bright red berries. Pigeons spacing out on cannabis seeds (a favorite food of many birds) may have tipped off the ancient Chinese (or Aryans or Scythians) to that plant's special properties. Peruvian legend has it that the puma discovered quinine: Indians observed that sick cats were often restored to health after eating the bark of the cinchona tree. Tukano Indians in the Amazon noticed that jaguars, not ordinarily herbivorous, would eat the bark of the yaje vine and hallucinate; the Indians who followed their lead say the yaje vine gives them "jaguar eyes".
Besides all the sex and violence, yet another reason not to allow your children to watch Animal Planet.

via Botany of Desire

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I grew up watching Animal Planet! I never had to ask my mom what sex was because of it. When mating season come around and all the bugs where sticking together and i asked her why they where doing that she said "there mating" no more questions asked. I knew what she ment and I also never had to ask where babys came from. I never liked violence and I've never been violent. The only violence on there is part of life. Better then most tv shows and movies these days.

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