An army of humanzees

Getting it on with primate cousins:

While evidence of humanzees has been scant, there is no longer much doubt about real attempts to create one, and in some cases in rather spectacular fashion.

humanzeeSecret documents recently uncovered in state archives after the fall of the Soviet Union have revealed that in the mid-1920s Joseph Stalin enlisted Russia’s top animal-breeding scientist, Ilya Ivanov, the father of artificial insemination, to conduct a series of “interspecies hybridization experiments” with the intention of creating what Stalin envisioned as an invincible “Planet of the Apes”-like army of humanzees with superhuman strength and stamina.

Put in the form of an official request from the Politburo to the Academy of Science in 1926, the plan was to create both a “living war machine” to bolster the then beleaguered Red Army, and a new labor force for the Soviet Union’s first Five-Year Plan to build a modern industrialized and egalitarian society.

“I want a new invincible human being,” Stalin is quoted in Russian newspapers as having instructed Ivanov, “insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat.”

Ivanov arranged an expedition to the western African nation of Guinea in March 1926 to conduct his experiments. Despite repeated failures at impregnating chimpanzees with human sperm, Ivanov was reportedly convinced that he’d have no trouble enlisting local women to be inseminated with chimp sperm, but could find no one willing to participate.

Upon his return to the Soviet Union, Ivanov continued his hybridization experiments at a newly established primate station in Sukhumi, Georgia. He had intended to impregnate five human volunteers there, but the only mature male chimp at Sukhumi died before the plan could be carried out.