An evolutionary psychologist by the name of Gordon Gallup stated that in the 1920s the first humanzee was “born” at a secret research facility in Florida. Even if he was not born at the time he was told so by his professor who had worked thousands of hours researching such a hybrid entity and its possibility to life. He also says that the humanzee was killed soon after its birth due to the pressure they received for their experiment. This is the closest that scientists have come to playing God and this is definitely going too far.
What is a humanzee?
This is combining the genes and cells of humans and chimpanzees to form an entity that is half human and half chimpanzee. From all the animals, a chimpanzee has the most similar organism to a human one with a 99% of coding DNA sequences in common, therefore it had the highest chances for success in such an experiment. Now, you would think that this was a lab-born hybrid however it actually wasn’t.
Technology at the time, especially in the scientific field was not so advanced as we are talking about 100 years ago, so the way that Professor Gallup explained it occurred was as follows. The scientists inseminated a female chimpanzee with human semen from an anonymous donor.
Scientists were surprised to see that not only did the female chimpanzee get pregnant, but she also gave birth to a healthy humanzee as Professor Gallup named this hybrid. However, upon seeing this abomination in front of their eyes, the scientists working on this project were pressured by moral and ethical issues, therefore they decided to kill the humanzee. What happened after or what abilities this new hybrid had is unknown.
There are rumors that the hybrid was able to say a few words in English and grasp the use of objects around him or her much quicker than most chimpanzees, confirming that her IQ was much higher than expected.
The first known attempt
However, this wasn’t the first attempt to create such a hybrid, the first recorded attempt, or better-said attempts, were by Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov, a Russian biologist. In 1910, he presented the idea to the World Congress of Zoologists in Viena who seemed to have approved of this unethical enterprise.
Interestingly enough, he received a study grant of $10,000 ($277,080 today) from the Soviet Financial Commission to carry out his experiment before being approved by the Soviet Academy of Sciences. The only thing that made the Soviet Academy of Science approves the experiment was his reasoning in the pitch he gave.
It is not sure what Ivanov’s true intent was with this experiment, but in his pitch, he said that with this experiment he would try to prove once and for all Darwin’s theory of evolution which defines that we have evolved from chimpanzees. Some researchers state that the experiment was done at the order of Joseph Stalin who was in the look to create a new type of soldier that would be insensitive to pain.
Ivanov started inseminating three female chimpanzees with human sperm through artificial insemination.
The only difference was that none of the female chimpanzees achieved pregnancy. He did some research to discover why none of the female chimpanzees achieved pregnancy and he found out that due to insemination there was a 1/6 chance of pregnancy. In 1920, he kept trying but still wasn’t able to get any results. In the same decade, he decided to look at the project from a different perspective.
What if human females would be inseminated with ape sperm? This experiment was almost carried out in 1929 but luckily was canceled as Ivanov’s last orangutan had died. This time, even if the experiment never took place, even the Soviet government decided that Ivanov simply crossed the line and therefore was exiled to Kazachstan to work at the Kazakh Veterinary-Zootechnical Institute.
May I remind you that this is only one of the many Russian scientists who had tried to play God in the 20th century? The closest that came to this was the two-headed dog experiment by Dr. Vladimir Demikhov in 1959.
Humanzees in the Shadows for Years
Since 1929, there were no attempts that anyone knows of, even if it is more than likely that a lot more sick scientists were trying to achieve the same results that the research facility in Florida achieved in 1920, or maybe they were too busy creating biological weapons for the Cold War.
From a chronological perspective, the next attempt was in 1967 by the People’s Republic of China according to Ji Yongxiang, the head of a hospital in Shengyang. Once again, not much information is available, only assumptions and rumors that the experiment would have actually worked, managing to breed a hybrid able to fluently talk a language that it was taught from a young age, showing cognitive abilities in other words.
What is interesting is a performing chimpanzee from the 1970s by the name of Oliver who became quite popular around the world. Oliver had the ability to understand humans very well and to listen to very specific commands. That was part of the act, but even how well you would try to train an animal you would not get him to listen to absolutely every command. Apart from this, many people assumed that he seemed to act more like a human rather than an animal. Although this may be an effect of only hanging around humans for a prolonged period of time.
Based on all this information, people actually believed that he was in fact a hybrid between humans and chimpanzees, this was actually used as an attraction for his performance in the 1980s. It attracted so much attention that in 1986 the University of Chicago brought him for analysis. It turned out that he wasn’t a hybrid, but just a normal chimpanzee that happened to be very talented. The results from the analysis as well as further research can be found in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
In 1981, China gave the experiment another try and impregnated another female chimpanzee with human sperm. The female chimpanzee became pregnant but died three months later due to health complications. Yet, to those that may think that this is a load of rubbish, the Chinese Academy of Sciences has actually confirmed the existence of both experiments from 1969 and 1981. As mentioned before, science has no shame for its unethical work as in their minds it is all towards “our own benefit”.
Over the 1990s there were many other types of experiments that tried to combine human cells with pig or sheep cells. There are rumors that in 2019 a team of researchers from various medical universities in Spain managed to produce the first half-human half-monkey hybrid. These so-called “unconfirmed reports” are coming from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in the United States.
Some experts say that this may be the missing link within the theory of evolution, the ability of apes or monkeys to breed with humans which in a way would make sense if technically based on the theory they are our ancestors. Nevertheless, it does not matter how unethical this is as the future surely awaits biological breeding between different species.
As always, please let me know your thoughts on this topic.