‘Party on, dude,’ pre-Columbian style

Red fine-walled ceramic snuff bowl from Puerto Rico
Red fine-walled ceramic snuff bowl from Puerto Rico
The UK Telegraph has run with a story, ‘Stone Age man took drugs, say scientists,’ about recent discoveries by a research team led by Quetta Kaye, of University College London, and Scott Fitzpatrick, of North Carolina State University. The drug taking ‘paraphernalia’ were dated to approximately 400 to 100 BCE, and were found in the Caribbean island Carriacou, 400 miles from where they probably originated on the South American continent. Daniel’s usually the one covering the posts on drugs (see, for example, his recent Drugs Round Up and the older Addiction Round Up), but I thought I’d put in my two cents on this one.

According to the Telegraph, the best guess for the mind altering substance involved is cohoba, a psychedelic substance produced from the ground seeds of the cojóbana tree. According to a quick surf around the web, cojóbana is likely a common name for Anadenathera peregrina, a tree native to both the Caribbean and South America, which also happens to be a good source of dietary calcium (the miracles offered by Mother Nature never cease).

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