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Science

The Animal World Has Its Junkies, Too 250

Posted by timothy
from the entire-mountain-covered-in-snow dept.
Phoghat writes "Research scientists have used many animal species in investigating mind-altering drugs, but it may come as a surprise to learn that animals in the wild — from starlings to reindeer — also make use of psychoactive substances of their own accord. It seems that many of these species have a natural desire to experience altered states of consciousness, and man may well have found his way to some of his favourite recreational drugs by observing the behaviour of animals."
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The Animal World Has Its Junkies, Too

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  • by ls671 (1122017) * on Sunday December 26, 2010 @02:09AM (#34668954) Homepage

    I remember watching a show on TV where a judge was telling a teenager that he was more stupid than an animal. The judge added: "Even animals aren't stupid enough to do drugs".

    I can only imagine the teenager replying to the judge: "But your honor here a picture of a Reindeer seeking the hallucinogenic fly agaric mushroom".

    It gave me an idea and I am now looking for investors to do a remake of that TV show with twists like this one added. Kind of "judge Judy is always wrong". It should be a great success and make a lot of money. ;-)

  • Catnip (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ZiakII (829432) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @02:12AM (#34668958)
    Just give a cat catnip it is like watching a junkie just getting their fix. My friend's cat just discovered where it was hidden and was opening the cabinet and closing it to get his fix.
  • by Nrrqshrr (1879148) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @04:02AM (#34669148)
    I remember a shaman from one of those South American cultures say something like: "We have been using tobacco for hundreds of years, and look at what it did to you when you discovered it. We have been using coca for generations, and look at what you did when you found it. I fear the worst for you once you find the rest of our plants."
    I guess the point is of the article is that the use of "drugs" is something part of nature, it's just how we do it that matters.
  • by grcumb (781340) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @07:13AM (#34669560) Homepage Journal

    I've read that every human culture with the exception of one has it's own intoxicants. All but the Inuit (what are you gonna do, ferment whale blubber?) have found some form of mind alternation. Extending this to the rest of the animal kingdom, it's not surprising to me that other species are just as keen to how much fun booze or drugs can be.

    You're not going to believe this, but... fermented walrus meat. I'm not kidding.

    I lived on Baffin Island for three years, and during that time, I was regaled at length on a number of occasions with first-hand accounts of how the Inuit would cache stores of walrus meat under stones in October (to keep the ravens from getting it) for about six weeks. Once it had a pretty solid veneer of mold, they would take it out, scrape it off and ingest it with gusto.

    According to those who tried it, it induced a mild, contented buzz.

    No, I did not try it. I didn't even want to see it.

  • by devent (1627873) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @09:16AM (#34669868) Homepage
    Since we now determined that the use of recreational drugs is in our gene pool can we please stop the "War on Drugs" madness? It's working just like all the other laws to prohibit goods that people want, like alcohol and sex. But don't listen to me, listen to the Stanford "Neill" Franklin, Police (Ret.) Executive Director, LEAP [youtube.com].

    "It pains me to know that there is a solution for preventing tragedy and nothing is being done because of ignorance, stubbornness, unsubstantiated fear and greed."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 26, 2010 @10:00AM (#34670050)

    I'm 43 years old, I haven't used hallucinogens since I was 28 and I still have to say that it was a very interesting experience that I do not wish to have undone. It's not a "miracle pill" but LSD definitely can be helpful in helping you understand yourself in a way that most people who do not use hallucinogens never come close to understanding.

    While the experience can be as plain as just a "laser show" (lots of visual stimulation, giggling and general silliness) it can also be extremely fascinating. I still remember the feeling of being able to how I was thinking. It's a bit like using a kernel level debugger on your thought processes, you see things about the way you think that you never would have picked up as clearly otherwise. Of course, there's always the risk of getting stuck in an infinite loop which forces you to figure out how to manipulate your own mind in order to snap out of it.

  • Re:O RLY? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @11:21AM (#34670332) Journal

    animals do not perform anything that requires abstract thought

    Clearly, you have never observed an octopus. They appear to study a problem before tackling it, and can solve unnatural challenges such as figuring out how to open a screw-top jar which contains a morsel of food. They don't just attack the jar with random moves, but study it while turning it around. Accomplishments such as these are suggestive of abstract thought, not mere instinctive behavior.

    Despite living only about two years, and receiving no training from its parents (who die around the time their offspring hatch out), an octopus is a surprisingly intelligent mollusc.

    BTW, you might try to define what you mean by "abstract thought" some time. You'll find it hard to include your own mental processes while excluding the perceived mental processes of tool-making animals (e.g. crows) or even of mammals which are considered less intelligent than the octopus (e.g. a horse).

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday December 27, 2010 @09:18AM (#34675710) Homepage Journal

    That bird won't fly.

    The first hint is your conscience

    My conscience doesn't bother me when I'm drinking or smoking pot. Why should it? My conscience only bothers me if I think I may have hurt someone.

    I'm thinking of the social pressures the corporate media put on one; diet food companies trying to make you geel guilty about eating non-diet food, or the AT&T radio commercial where they talk about the "guilty pleasure" of downloding silly videos from YouTube -- "you know, the one with the squirrel playing tamborine".

    the reason behind it is that they are simply, as the Bible explains, inconvenient.

    The Bible doesn't mention intoxicants at all, except alcohol (which it says kings shouldn't drink). It says to give wine to the grieving and strong drink to the dying. Jesus himself turned water into wine for a wedding celebration, and wine is part of communion, for Christ's sake!

    Other than the fact that you are out of control (depending on the intoxicant), also have the tendency to get wrapped up in it and become less productive.

    I don't think you're reading the same Bible I'm reading; is your Bible by chance the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition? Where does the bible say anything about being out of control? Or that you are supposed to be "productive"? "Look at the lillies of the field, they neither spin now sew, but look how God has clothed then in their glory".

    The real problem is trying to define your life by pleasure, which is fleeting.

    Pleasure isn't evil. The only evil would be if you worshiped something besides God, like money. Money is the very worst of intoxicants. But there is nothing whatever wrong with pleasure.

    In fact, the theme at my church this month has been "A Whitespace Christmas" -- giving yourself a break from the hustle and bustle and work and shopping and such. "Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy" means RELAX on Sunday. Lay around the shanty and put a good buzz on.

    Sadly, I have known many people who have had their life ruined by drug addiction.

    So have I, but I've also known many people who at first glance seem to have had their lives ruined by drugs, but after talking to them realized that their lifes were already ruined before they ever took that first sip of whiskey or snort of cocaine. In many if not most cases, drug addiction is a symptom of an underlying mental illness, and is but a symptom rather than the disease.

    One more thing -- The necktie is a symbol of wealth and power. Bankers, lawyers, politicians, stockbrokers, CEOs al wear this symbol. If your preacher wears a tie, he may be the wolf in sheep's clothing Christ warned you about; of all the things Christ had bad things to say about, wealth and personal power were at the top of the list.

    And to whatever athiest modded that comment "troll", stop it unless you want Christian and Muslim slashdotters to start moderating and metamoderating all those comments that ridicule religion as "troll". Kainosnous' comments would only be trolling on an athiest messageboard, which slashdot isn't. Keep your irrational hate to yourselves, it isn't welcome here.

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