14 November 2006

Stinkin' Apes: Damned, Dirty, and RED!

Stumbled on this gem today and just about fell out of my chair: as if we needed any more proof that Joseph Stalin was a stark-raving loon, recently unearthed documents in Moscow have revealed that the moustachioed dictator once ordered the creation of an army of half-man, half-monkey warriors! From news.scotsman.com:
In the mid-20s, Iyla Ivanov, Russian's then-top animal breeding scientist, was enlisted by Stalin to rebuild the Red Army with a, quote, "living war machine". Ivanov had established the world's first centre for the insemination of race horses, so in 1926, he was sent to West Africa with $200,000 to conduct an experiment to impregnate chimps with human sperm. A centre was established in Stalin's birthpace, Georgia, to raise the apes. Well, big surprise, the experiment was a total failure. Ivanov reversed the process--monkey fluids into human "volunteers"--with no success.
Disgraced, Ivanov was sent to jail for five years, later commuted to five years' exile in--wait for--Kazakstan! (high five!)
Stalin wouldn't give up. He tried to persuade a Cuban heiress to lend some of her pet monkeys to the experiment. So much for his dream of "a new invincible human being, insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of the food they eat."
Guess that's why the Russkies sent up a dog in Sputnik 2, while the Yanks sent up Gordo, a squirrel monkey, on the Jupiter AM-13.
Wonder if he liked the food?