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Well, I'll Be A Monkey's Uncle

Retired Article • Written by Josh Harding

You have heard of a mule, which is the combination of a horse and a donkey. You may have heard of a ligra, which is a lion/tiger mix (Yes, Napoleon, they have been bred in captivity). But have you ever heard of a humanzee? I certainly hope not. Not to say that there hasn't been attempts to create such a....person....beast....thing.

In the beginnings of communism, there was the drive to prove the theory of evolution. Since according to Karl Marx, religion was the opium of the masses, it was communism's job to refute it. One way was to prove man came from apes.

One of the more disturbing experiments of this nature came from Il'ya Ivanov, a Russian scientist. His goal in life, to prove the man/ape theory by breeding them. He first started in 1926 in Africa attempting to inseminate female chimps with human sperm. Not his own sperm, however, because he shared the belief common to the time that the native population was closer to chimps than their more "civilized" fairer skinned bretheren. Those experiment failed. Attempts to get human women to volunteer to be chimp inseminated failed as well.

His next step was to contact a chimp breeder in Cuba and see if any of her male chimps would like to volunteer to inseminate a Russian volunteer. That also fell through.

In the end as with many people, Ivanov fell out of favor with Stalin's regime and was sent to a concentration camp in 1930. He died in 1932 after being released early from the camp to exile in Khazakstan.

All in all, Ivanov wasn't a bad guy. His work in artificial insemination was miles ahead of its time. He pioneered the field, creating the horse/zebra hybrid, saving the European bison, and had much success in farm animal breeding.

Still I am glad that, although you can't pick your relatives, at least you don't have to worry about picking their species.

Article written by Josh Harding, published on 21 December 2005. Josh is a contributing editor for DamnInteresting.com.

Edited by Alan Bellows.

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11 Comments
maerk
Posted 21 December 2005 at 09:08 am

How disturbing!


Alan Bellows
Posted 22 December 2005 at 11:46 am

We don't know that his experiments failed.

"In a forgotten world where the lines are blurred between man and animal, one man's journey is about to turn into a terrifying adventure. Starring Michael Jackson as Captain B.O., and introducing Bubbles Jr. in: MONKEYLOVE ISLAND."

In theaters everywhere.


Josh Harding
Posted 22 December 2005 at 01:28 pm

"I hate every ape I see from chimpan-A to chimpan-Z. No you'll never make a monkey out of me. Oh my gosh, I was wrong, this was earth all along...Well you finally made a monkey." "Yes we finally made a monkey." "You finally made a monkey out of meeeeee! I love you Dr. Zaius!"


Bryan Lowder
Posted 22 December 2005 at 06:13 pm

Bad Alan! No biscuit! Bad Alan!

I hate to say it, but I'm kind of glad someone's done this, for curiousity's sake. But most especially to shut up people who believe in Grunches (man/sheep hybrids) and to prove to well-meaning but misguided creationists that fossil hominids are not human/ape hybrids.

I knew a guy who passionately believed that Mexican sheep ranchers fathered grunches on a regular basis. What a moron.


tervesoumi
Posted 26 December 2005 at 06:02 pm

Interesting but not factually correct. Post WWII Stalin was short on manpower and tapped Ivanov, a world renowned geneticist, to create a super-soldier indifferent to poor food, bad living conditions, strong, obediant, etc., it is an open question to what degree Ivanov was a willing participant in this venture. Stalin was not known for dealing well with "no" or "it is not possible". The Cuban connection is also misstated. A wealthy cuban society doyenne volunteered her well known chimpanzee collection for the research, but the public outcry, notably in the U.S. caused her to withdraw from the project. Is this site like th infamously innacurate Wikipedia? Who is responsible for the fact-checking?


Josh Harding
Posted 04 January 2006 at 11:35 am

tervesoumi said: "Interesting but not factually correct. Post WWII Stalin was short on manpower and tapped Ivanov, a world renowned geneticist, to create a super-soldier indifferent to poor food, bad living conditions, strong, obediant, etc., it is an open question to what degree Ivanov was a willing participant in this venture. Stalin was not known for dealing well with "no" or "it is not possible". The Cuban connection is also misstated. A wealthy cuban society doyenne volunteered her well known chimpanzee collection for the research, but the public outcry, notably in the U.S. caused her to withdraw from the project. Is this site like th infamously innacurate Wikipedia? Who is responsible for the fact-checking?"

Actually, most of the information came from news articles. I am not arguing the fact that he was not a brilliant man in his artificial insemination attempts. In fact, I went to a museum with my kids and saw a stuffed european buffulo, which he saved from extinction in the course of his work.


mHagarty
Posted 05 February 2006 at 09:28 pm

Communism = pure wackiness.


sh0cktopus
Posted 29 September 2006 at 09:29 am

If "religion is the opium of the masses," wouldn't communism have been better served by "proving" that the earth is 6,000 years old, we all descended from Adam and Eve, and so forth - to keep the masses complacent? If you take away people's opium, they tend to get pretty pissed off.


Tink
Posted 15 October 2006 at 05:06 pm

Bryan Lowder said: "Bad Alan! No biscuit! Bad Alan!


I hate to say it, but I'm kind of glad someone's done this, for curiousity's sake. But most especially to shut up people who believe in Grunches (man/sheep hybrids) and to prove to well-meaning but misguided creationists that fossil hominids are not human/ape hybrids.

I knew a guy who passionately believed that Mexican sheep ranchers fathered grunches on a regular basis. What a moron."

Yes Brian, that was just a baaaad rummmmor. LOL
Well, thats what I thought till I saw the Bushy monkey page, OMG that is too funny to laugh at! Damned Interesting!


Dublin
Posted 09 February 2007 at 05:32 am

This guy I went to school with had almost every chimp like attribute you could ask for. I'm almost certain he could father a Monkey.


allduerespect88
Posted 06 December 2008 at 03:21 pm

Does George Bush not prove the existence of half-man half monkeys? If he doesn't nothing can


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