The Soviet dictator Josef Stalin ordered the creation of Planet of the Apes-style warriors by crossing humans with apes, according to recently uncovered secret documents.Half man half monkey soliders. Sweet! How come I never heard of this before?
Moscow archives show that in the mid-1920s Russia's top animal breeding scientist, Ilya Ivanov, was ordered to turn his skills from horse and animal work to the quest for a super-warrior.While they claim to have failed, I am personally still holding out hope that it really did work and they are hanging out in the Russian equivalent of Area 51. And I love how they call the women "volunteers". What woman wouldn't jump at the chance to bear half-monkey soldier offspring?
Mr Ivanov's ideas were music to the ears of Soviet planners and in 1926 he was dispatched to West Africa with $200,000 to conduct his first experiment in impregnating chimpanzees.
Meanwhile, a centre for the experiments was set up in Georgia - Stalin's birthplace - for the apes to be raised.
Mr Ivanov's experiments, unsurprisingly from what we now know, were a total failure. He returned to the Soviet Union, only to see experiments in Georgia to use monkey sperm in human volunteers similarly fail.
Now, I know what you are thinking. With the improvements in genetic information and technology over the last 100 years, is it time to give it a try again? And the answer without a doubt is yes. :)
While cross-breeding won't work, what about tweaking a gene or two?
First, lets see if we can get a chimp to talk and write some Shakespeare without requiring an infinite amount of time. The chimpanzee genome has been sequenced and differences between their brain genes and ours have been found. But no one knows for sure which of these genes give humans our increased intelligence or ability to speak. I say, only one way to find out. Lets create some chimps with the human version of these genes and see what happens.
Second, lets try and give humans chimpanzee strength. For those of you aren't aware, chimps are much stronger than humans. This would make steroids look quaint. Scientists aren't quite sure what accounts for the difference but they believe it has to do with the myosin gene MYH16. Lets create some humans with the chimp version of this gene and see what happens.
So the only question is where this work could occur. Hmm, which country has ethically challenged geneticists (cough, South Korea, cough)?