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March 15, 2015 | by  | in Science |
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Lucy in the Sky with Dinosaurs

The discovery of hallucinogenic fungus preserved on a 110 million year old grass specimen indicates that dinosaurs may have been tripped on LSD.

The grass specimen was found preserved in fossilised amber, Jurassic Park style, and contains the psychotropic fungus ergot. This fungus contains lysergic acid, which causes hallucinations, paranoia and muscle spasms when consumed. Since its discovery by Albert Hoffman in 1938, lysergic acid has been synthesised into LSD.

This has lead palaeontologists to speculate that, if a herbivorous dinosaur consumed enough ergot-contaminated grass, it could high, meaning fossilisation wasn’t the only way dinosaurs got stoned.

Paleo-entomologist George Poinar, Jr. believes that the fungus must have been consumed by dinosaurs but isn’t certain if he can grass any of them up for drug use.

“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,” Poinar said in a press release.

Ergot co-evolved alongside grasses and wheat when it was first cultivated and has been consumed by humans. Ergot-contaminated wheat, ironically, can survive being baked, and has been consumed by humans for centuries. Historians believe that ergot poisoning is responsible for certain events of mass paranoia throughout human history, such as the Salem witch trials.

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