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Stalin's Man-Ape Army (Ilya Ivanov: Human-Ape Hybrid Research)

Quake42

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There was also a persistent rumour some years back regarding Chinese experiments, and apparently successful births of chimp/human hybrids, which were then halted forcibly by the military: anyone else remember this?
No, but there was a Russian scientist (Ivanov) in the 20s who attempted to create such a hybrid - bizarrely, he apparently had female human volunteers willing to attempt to fall pregnant with such a creature (following artificial insemination, I hasten to add!) but it didn't happen because of a lack of male chimps, and Ivanov subsequently feel out of favour with Stalin and was sent off to work in some obscure facility somewhere out in the steppes.

TBH, like human cloning, I suspect that this is something that has been tried on more than one occasion regardless of ethical considerations.
 

amyasleigh

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Quake42 said:
There was also a persistent rumour some years back regarding Chinese experiments, and apparently successful births of chimp/human hybrids, which were then halted forcibly by the military: anyone else remember this?
No, but there was a Russian scientist (Ivanov) in the 20s who attempted to create such a hybrid - bizarrely, he apparently had female human volunteers willing to attempt to fall pregnant with such a creature (following artificial insemination, I hasten to add!) but it didn't happen because of a lack of male chimps, and Ivanov subsequently feel out of favour with Stalin and was sent off to work in some obscure facility somewhere out in the steppes.

TBH, like human cloning, I suspect that this is something that has been tried on more than one occasion regardless of ethical considerations.
Later, during the Stalin era, there were rumours (brought up now and again in the "fancy", to this day) about Soviet attempts to develop -- via hybridizing of this kind -- a strain of giant ape-man super-soldiers. I'm never clear whether this was a figment of Cold War hysteria, in the West -- fuelled by confused association with Ivanov's doings, as above; or whether there's more of a core of truth to it.
 

Quake42

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Later, during the Stalin era, there were rumours (brought up now and again in the "fancy", to this day) about Soviet attempts to develop -- via hybridizing of this kind -- a strain of giant ape-man super-soldiers. I'm never clear whether this was a figment of Cold War hysteria, in the West -- fuelled by confused association with Ivanov's doings, as above; or whether there's more of a core of truth to it.
My guess is confused association with Ivanov. I think the chances of "humanzees" being reliable and effective super-soldiers is pretty remote.

However genetic technology has moved on by leaps and bounds since the 1920s and, given how much easier it would be now to attempt to create a hybrid, as I say I would be amazed if it hasn't been tried, probably on several occasions and in several locations. Interestingly, a quick Google suggests that current UK law in fact allows the creation of a "humanzee" - although not a "chuman".

There was a TV drama in the early 90s based on this I think? "First Born" or something.
 

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Quake42 said:
There was a TV drama in the early 90s based on this I think? "First Born" or something.
Yeah, First Born. Charlie Dance played the mad professor there, I think.
 

Analis

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Nick REDFERN has studied recently Ivanov's story. It seems that he did act under Stalin's order and that the experiments did take place. They were conducted in USSR and Africa, as the French had allowed him to use their research facilities in Guinea. Both female apes were impregnated with human sperm and human females with ape sperm. If the project was cancelled, this was not because of a lack of male chimpanzees, but more prosaically because the attempts were, unsurprizingly, completely unsuccessful :
http://www.mania.com/lair-beasts-russia ... 28545.html

A more complete survey seems to be in his book SCIENCE FICTION SECRETS: From Government Files and the Paranormal, maybe embracing the later rumours :
http://www.amazon.com/SCIENCE-FICTION-S ... B004H4XNJ0

-- Did a nightmarish scenario presented in one of H.G. Wells' novels prompt Soviet Premier Josef Stalin to clandestinely embark upon a secret and diabolical experiment designed to create a super race of monstrous, half-human half-ape soldiers?
 

Quake42

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Nick REDFERN has studied recently Ivanov's story. It seems that he did act under Stalin's order and that the experiments did take place. They were conducted in USSR and Africa, as the French had allowed him to use their research facilities in Guinea. Both female apes were impregnated with human sperm and human females with ape sperm. If the project was cancelled, this was not because of a lack of male chimpanzees, but more prosaically because the attempts were, unsurprizingly, completely unsuccessful :
Redfern seems to be the only one claiming that the experiments involving female humans acually went ahead. I have to say that I'm sceptical about his writings after "Three Men Seeking Monsters" was billed as being factual.
 

Analis

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Well, I'd like to know what his sources are exactly. He speaks of "formerly classified records", "Ivanov's now-archived reports", but does that mean that they are really available from the official Russian administration ? In the past, he was not always rigourous when handling classified documents.

Quake42 said:
Redfern seems to be the only one claiming that the experiments involving female humans acually went ahead.
He may be alone, but are there historians, specialists of the USSR or the Cold War who issued an opinion on this controversy (if only to state that it's just an urban legend or CIA disinformation) ?


A story to contemplate : the anencephalic stillborn baby of Vichy.
http://grandes-enigmes.over-blog.com/ar ... 05171.html (in French, nothing available in English on this story it seems)

anencephale.jpg

On 6 January 1897, an anencephalic baby was born in Vichy, and died after a few minutes. Dr Therre, who was in charge of the maternity ward, supposed that it was a human-ape hybrid.
Dr Therre was not led to this astonishing hypothesis by the stillborn's anencephalia, a rare but well known inborn syndrome. But by the fact that it was afflicted with other strange features, a monstrous face, long arms and an ape-like thorax. And that the mother had an ape as a companion, her only friend according to her and her father (I've been unable to determine its species, all sources apparently copy a collective book on great mysteries published in 1992 by Larousse).
It may seem a preposterous theory. But in my opinion, if, extraordinarily, an insemination of a woman by an ape could result in a pregnancy, and a birth, it would definitely be of a non-viable organism like this one. Certainely not of Oliver.

(Edits: Date corrected; image added.)
 
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Quake42

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Fascinating stuff, although I'm not sure I understand the timing - the alleged hybrid was born in 1997 but the reference material was published in 1992? :?:

It may seem a preposterous theory. But in my opinion, if, extraordinarily, an insemination of a woman by an ape could result in a pregnancy, and a birth, it would definitely be of a non-viable organism like this one. Certainely not of Oliver.
Well, horses and donkeys produce viable offsring, as do zebras and donkeys, lions and tigers, sheep and goats and (possibly) chimps and gorillas. Humans and chimps are closer genetically than some of these other hybrid-able species.

I struggle to believe such a pregnancy could occur naturally, however...
 

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" I'm not sure I understand the timing - the alleged hybrid was born in 1997 but the reference material was published in 1992?"

The case was 1897 and the main suspect was a bit closer genetically than the monkey!

God alone knows what the picture on that page is! :shock:

The date has been corrected in the earlier post, and the photo from the linked article has been added herein.
 
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Quake42

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The case was 1897 and the main suspect was a bit closer genetically than the monkey!
Ah okay - didn't bother reading the page as myb French doesn't extend much further than "deux bieres s'il vous plait"!
 

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Quake42 said:
Fascinating stuff, although I'm not sure I understand the timing - the alleged hybrid was born in 1997 but the reference material was published in 1992? :?:
Err no, it's just a mistake, in fact it happened in 1897. The story was first made public in 1933 when Dr Therre published a booklet on the case, and gained a wider audience when it was related by P. Duvic in 1973 in a book on teratology. The 1992 book Les Grandes Enigmes is merely the source that the articles found on internet mostly lazzily copy word-to-word.

Quake42 said:
Well, horses and donkeys produce viable offsring, as do zebras and donkeys, lions and tigers, sheep and goats and (possibly) chimps and gorillas. Humans and chimps are closer genetically than some of these other hybrid-able species.
Things seem more complex with anthropoids. Genetic divergence is not the only factor to take into account.
Evolutionnary divergence between humans and chimps dates probably from 6 to 8 millions years, in the range of the divergence of the two modern elephant species. Likely sightly less than chimp-gorilla divergence, but I wouldn't take that as a mark, as stories of chimp-gorilla hybrids are unconfirmed. Some of the species you mention may be in a similar range, the apparition of genus Equus and the goat-sheep divergence seem to be a little younger. But the most crucial factor is that chimps and humans (and gorillas) have very important differences in their chromosome structure. Their strong differences in morphology and development rates are other factors that would impede their embryological development.
 

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But the most crucial factor is that chimps and humans (and gorillas) have very important differences in their chromosome structure. Their strong differences in morphology and development rates are other factors that would impede their embryological development.
Horse and donkeys also have different numbers of chromosomes as do some of the other hybrids I mentioned. I won't pretend to be an expert on this but a number of biologists do appear to believe that a viable human/chimp hybrid is a theoretical possibility. However the fact that no verified example has emerged would tend to suggest hybridisation is difficult to do - as I say I bet it's been attempted on a num,ber of occasions.
 

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JamesWhitehead said:
The case was 1897 and the main suspect was a bit closer genetically than the monkey!

God alone knows what the picture on that page is! :shock:
It looks rather like a case of Harlequin Ichthyosis.
 

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Monstrosa said:
JamesWhitehead said:
The case was 1897 and the main suspect was a bit closer genetically than the monkey!

God alone knows what the picture on that page is! :shock:
It looks rather like a case of Harlequin Ichthyosis.
To me, it looks like something else completely. It doesn't look like classic Harlequin Ichthyosis.
 

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Obviously I'm no expert, but whatever that is, it doesn't look stillborn either; surely the proportions of the limbs, especially the legs, are all wrong for any age of foetus?
 

Analis

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Quake42 said:
Horse and donkeys also have different numbers of chromosomes as do some of the other hybrids I mentioned. I won't pretend to be an expert on this but a number of biologists do appear to believe that a viable human/chimp hybrid is a theoretical possibility. However the fact that no verified example has emerged would tend to suggest hybridisation is difficult to do - as I say I bet it's been attempted on a num,ber of occasions.
The number of chromosomes is indeed not the most important factor. It has even been reported that the hybridation of various species of mouflons with different number of chromosomes, like Ovis ammon (56 chromosomes), Ovis vignei (58 chromosomes), Ovis aries (54 chromosomes, includes the domestic sheep) can in some cases result in fertile offspring. There are also some extremely rare but documented cases of fertile mules. However, the chromosomes of anthropoids differ not only in number, but exhibit more differences like pericentral inversions, migration of chromosome parts to another chromosome, deletions etc... Another factor is that despite that genetic distance is relatively small, the deep morphological differences imply that the genes involved are important development genes, whose differences would probably induce developmental malfunctionings in an hybrid (not mentioning the physical functional Incompatibilities). Which makes the prospect of a viable human-chimp hybrid tenuous at best.

Fluttermoth said:
Obviously I'm no expert, but whatever that is, it doesn't look stillborn either; surely the proportions of the limbs, especially the legs, are all wrong for any age of foetus?
Well, this was one of Dr Therre's points for his hybrid theory, that the supposed stillborn was really very different from any human foetus...
 

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Don't apes tend to have rather short legs compared to humans? That would indicate to me a hybrid would have shorter legs than a normal fetus, not longer ones.
 

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You mean dogs are experts on tanks identification?
Well. Russian tanks ran on petrol and one sort of engine oil. German tanks tended to run on diesel and other sorts of lubricants. Dogs are good at telling smells apart - for instance, Russian tobacco smoked by their handlers as opposed to German cigarettes. The Russian mine-dogs were fed underneath tanks - Russian tanks - to get them habituated to running underneath tanks for food and shelter. The mines they would carry on their backs had upward-pointed pressure fuses, so if they ran under a tank wearing one - bang. The problem was... they hadn't been habituated to seek food and shelter underneath German tanks. Released on a battlefield, frightened and nervous dogs tended to run for familiar comforting places.

The experiment was discontinued.
 

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Ah okay - didn't bother reading the page as myb French doesn't extend much further than "deux bieres s'il vous plait"!
I find the picture somewhat unconvincing, like a grotesque stuffed toy posed for the photograph. The eyes are particularly strange being so dark and bulbous. The style of the write up, and the type of links shown on the page, all smack of crude sensationalism rather than a carefully researched piece.

I did a quick search for "French to English Translation" and did a bit of copying and pasting.
The following is courtesy of Google Translate:

Nowadays modestly baptized “medical curiosities”, human monsters know their heyday in the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. They are then the main attraction of fairs and circuses, or many of them make their fortune.

Interest in these phenomena dates back to ancient times. Greeks and Babylonians, for example, saw in these creatures the deliberate work of the gods, and the Roman emperors sought them out in the empire to reunite them in their palaces. Yet some monsters are more fearful than fun, because their existence seems to involve the very notion of humanity.

The story of the Vichy monster is revealed to the public in a work called Monsters, Monsters, and Monstrosity. On January 6, 1897, a sixteen-year-old girl gave birth at the Vichy maternity hospital to an illegitimate child who only survived a few minutes. He is hermaphroditic and stricken with an exceptional abnormality: the absence of a brain and cerebellum, or anencephaly. That is, his skull stops just above the eyes. On the other hand, the newborn baby looks incredibly like a monkey. It has long limbs, large round eyes, and an anthropoid-specific thorax conformation. For Dr. Therre, chief physician of the Vichy maternity hospital at the time, these characteristics are the consequence not of anencephaly itself but of the act of fertilization.

The father and daughter fiercely deny any incestuous relationship, a fact can be confirmed by the extreme narrowness and resistance of the vaginal opening indicating an absence of normal sexual relations. Details that confirm Dr Therre's hypothesis of a hybrid origin of the anencephalon, although natural hybridization between two species seems impossible.

But it turns out that the girl has lived until then in a trailer in the company of her father and ... a monkey, "her only companion" she says because any contact with an outside person was forbidden to her. However, the monkey died the day after the teenager's childbirth, apparently from the stress of his separation from her. Dr Therre deduces from this that, unbelievable as it may seem, the monster brought into the world may have been the fruit of the young girl's sexual relations with the monkey ...

We will probably never know if Dr Therre was right, but a human-ape embryo is not beyond the reach of genetic engineering. So can we imagine that a violation of a natural law, susceptible of being transgressed in a laboratory, took place, for unknown reasons, in the spring of 1896?
 

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It was her father then. Not the monkey.
 
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