"On February 28, 1927, [Dr.] Ivanov [Ivanovich Ivanov] artificially inseminated two female chimpanzees with human sperm. On June 25, he injected a third chimpanzee with human sperm. The Ivanovs left Africa in July with thirteen chimps, including the three used in his experiments. They already knew before leaving that the first two chimpanzees had failed to become pregnant. The third died in France, and was also found not to have been pregnant. The remaining chimps were sent to a new primate station at Sukhumi.Before the experiments could be revived, Ivan was exiled. His attempts at creating a human/ape hybrid were well publicized in the U.S.; it is tempting to think that this inspired King Kong, which was released only a few years after Ivan's fulfilled and nearly fulfilled experiments.
Although Ivanov attempted to organize the insemination of human females with chimpanzee sperm in Guinea, these plans met with resistance from the French colonial government and there is no evidence such an experiment was arranged there.
Upon his return to the Soviet Union in 1927, Ivanov began an effort to organize hybridization experiments at Sukhumi using ape sperm and human females. Eventually in 1929, through the help of Gorbunov, he obtained the support of the Society of Materialist Biologists, a group associated with the Communist Academy. In the spring of 1929 the Society set up a commission to plan Ivanov's experiments at Sukhumi. They decided that at least five volunteer women would be needed for the project. However, in June 1929, before any inseminations had taken place, Ivanov learned that the only postpubescent male ape remaining at Sukhumi (an orangutan) had died."
Well, seeing as how the real Ivan had to shop around for a country to host his experiments and seemed to have managed to horrify several governments--including the Soviets--with his plans, I had kinda chalked this one off to a case of a mad scientist who briefly located an immoral government: You know, one of those odd ball cases that doesn't represent some larger issue with humanity.
Anyhow, this story came back to my mind last week when I read Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's first tale of the "Red Ghost", a supervillain who deputed in 1963. Red Ghost started as a Soviet ("Red"--get it?) scientist named Ivan (subtle, eh?) who created team of super apes:
Obviously, this is fiction, inspired, surely, by the true tale of Ivan the sicko, which I still held neatly in my framework of "rare confluence of pervert, science, and immoral governance."
But only a few days after reading this comic, I came across another apparently true monkey/human/scientist sex tale in an interesting article about the correlation between intelligence and masturbation fantasies:
"... from a 1914 Journal of Animal Behavior study by a primatological colleague of Robert Yerkes named Gilbert Van Tassel Hamilton who apparently ran something of a monkey research center-cum-sanctuary on the lush grounds of his Montecito, California estate ...Okay, now that's pretty sick.
... [Hamilton] reports that one of his female monkeys named “Maud” liked to be mounted (and entered) by a pet male dog out in the yard until one day poor, horny old Maud offered her backside to a strange mongrel that proceeded to bite off her arm. More disturbing is Hamilton’s description of a monkey named “Jimmy” who one sunny afternoon discovered a human infant lying in a hammock: “Jimmy promptly endeavoured to copulate with the infant,” observes Hamilton matter-of-factly. It’s unclear whether or not this was the author’s own child, nor is there any mention of the look on said human infant’s mother’s face when she saw what Jimmy was getting up to."
So now I have to ask myself: Is simply another rare example of a wacko scientist who happened to operate in an immoral environment? Or is there some larger problem that we should know about?
Image source: Page 4 of The Fantastic Four, Volume 1 # 13, "The Fantastic Four, Versus The Red Ghost" (part 1 of "Mystery on the Moon). Page 317 of the 2005 "The Fantastic Four Omnibus". Story by Stan Lee, Art by King Kirby.