SampleProposal3 - 1 R O L E O F IN T O X IC A N T S IN T H...

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1 ROLE OF INTOXICANTS IN THE EVOLUTIONARY FITNESS OF MANDRILLS AND HAWKMOTHS [Authors names removed] The human use of intoxicating substances can be traced to the very origin of the species. But the use of such drugs is not a merely a human phenomenon. It has been well documented in animals as well, both in controlled laboratory settings and in the wild. The study of this drive for intoxication in animals may lead to a more thorough understanding and acceptance of the human use of psychoactives. This project proposes two separate studies on the evolutionary significance of intoxication related behaviors in the mandrill ( Mandrillus sphinx ), an African primate, and the long-tongued hawkmoth of the American southwest, Manduca quinquemaculata , M. sexta , and Hyles lineata . The first will examine two separate Mandrill populations, one given access to the iboga, a powerful intoxicant and hallucinogen used by males in dominance rituals, and the other denied said access. The second study will focus on the behavior of hawkmoths on Datura meteloides , a common American flower that contains powerful indole alkaloids in all parts of the plant, including its nectar. Observational data will be used to construct an overview of the role of each intoxicant in the life history of each of the four species and establish a model for the evolutionary impact of these substances on each species. Objectives Although the use of intoxicants and other psychoactive drugs by animals has been firmly established, the evolutionary implications of this discovery have been overlooked. The primary aim of this project is to further the knowledge in this area. Specifically, our group intends to analyze the evolutionary effect of the use of intoxicants in both mandrill and the hawkmoth populations. In addition, these studies may also lead to a deeper understanding of the human use of psychoactives and its evolutionary basis. If even certain insects have the desire to achieve an altered state of mind, what does this say about the equivalent human desire? Likewise, some individuals in a particular species are more prone to seeking out these substances than others 1 . Insights gleaned from this study may help answer these and other questions, in regard to both human and animal behavior. Introduction The use of intoxicants and other psychoactives by humans is a well documented and nearly ubiquitous phenomenon in human societies. From the ritual consumption of peyote by Native American tribes such as the Kiowa 2 , to the wine drunk at every meal in the Middle Ages, intoxicants, hallucinogens, deleriants, stimulant, depressants, and all manner of other psychoactives have been an integral part of human culture since the birth of humanity in the cradle of Africa. Human cultures make use of such intoxicating plant and animal products for a plethora of reasons, whether medicinal, ritual, or purely recreational. The medicinal use of plant derived, as well as synthetic, substances has an ancient history
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This note was uploaded on 01/06/2012 for the course UGS 303 taught by Professor Foster during the Fall '08 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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SampleProposal3 - 1 R O L E O F IN T O X IC A N T S IN T H...

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