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Saturday, August 20 • 9:00am - 10:00am
On the origin of the genus Psilocybe and its potential ritual use in ancient Africa and Europe

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The role of altered states of consciousness in the production of geometric and figurative art by prehistoric cultures in Africa and Europe has been hotly debated. Helvenston and Bahn have tried to refute the most famous hypothesis, Lewis-Williams’ neuropsychological model, by claiming that appropriate visual hallucinations required the ingestion of LSD, psilocybin, or mescaline, while arguing that none of these compounds were available to the cultures in question. We present here mycological arguments that tell another story. A prehistoric worldwide distribution of the mushroom genus Psilocybe, and therefore of psilocybin, is supported by the existence of endemic species in America, Africa, and Europe, the disjunct distribution of sister species, and the possibility of long-distance spore dispersal. It is more difficult to point to instances of actual prehistoric ritual use in Africa and Europe, but there are a growing number of suggestive findings.
NOTE: this talk is the very first presentation of this story which stems from an important paper just published in 2016, of the same title, and by the authors Tom Froese, Gastón Guzmán, and Laura Guzmán-Dávalos.
We are very excited to hear this groundbreaking work by Laura! 


avatar for Laura Guzman Davalos

Laura Guzman Davalos

Laura Guzmán-Dávalos is a Mexican mycologist working since 1983 at University of Guadalajara in Jalisco State. Laura is a well-respected mycologist in Mexico and daughter of the world-renowned Gaston Guzman, THE world authority on the genus Psilocybe (and who described and named more than half of the species). At this year's Festival, we are so thrilled that Laura wants to talk about her father’s work as well as her own... Read More →

Saturday August 20, 2016 9:00am - 10:00am
Sheridan Opera House 110 N Oak St, Telluride, CO 81435

Attendees (21)