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Were dinosaurs high on LSD?
Kids: just say no to drugs. Look what happened to the dinosaurs. “Hang on,” we hear you say, “dinosaurs weren’t on drugs.” Well, it turns out they just might have been…
Researchers have found some perfectly preserved amber containing the oldest grass specimen ever discovered, and it’s topped with a sample of 100 million year old form of ergot fungus: a toxin and hallucinogen. Ergot is found on grasses including rye and wheat and is used to produce LSD.
The grass sample was discovered by a German paleontologist called Joerg Wunderlich in Myanmar. American paleo-entomologist Doctor George Poinar then identified the grass, and fossilized fungus.
“There is a good possibility that some of the chemical compounds found in the fossil were hallucinogenic,” explained Doctor Poinar.
So we know the dinosaurs – particularly sauropods which were known to live around Burma – had access to the fungus? Would they have eaten it, or resisted prehistoric peer pressure?
“There’s no doubt in my mind that it would have been eaten by sauropod dinosaurs, although we can’t know what exact effect it had on them. We can look and see what ergot does to lizards and birds today — and it does have an effect on them, but whether this occurred in dinosaurs, we just don’t know,” he explained, destroying the hilarious mental image we’d built up in our heads.
“We don’t know how much they would have had to eat,” he concluded, echoing a problem familiar to anyone who has ever hosted a buffet party.
The Daily Mail describes the fungus as “extremely bitter” and state it can cause “delirium, convulsions and severe pain.” So, any lizard descendants of dinosaurs reading this today: just say no.