Home » Culture, Darwinism, Human evolution » Why were the Soviets trying to create a human-chimp hybrid?

Why were the Soviets trying to create a human-chimp hybrid?

Here’s an intellectually respectable “Blast from the past” to understand the motives, a (August 23, 2008), “The Soviet ape-man scandal” by New Scientist’s Stephanie Pain:

When Ivanov put his proposal to the Academy of Sciences he painted it as the experiment that would prove men had evolved from apes. “If he crossed an ape and a human and produced viable offspring then that would mean Darwin was right about how closely related we are,” says Etkind. When Ivanov approached the government, he stressed how proving Darwin right would strike a blow against religion, which the Bolsheviks were struggling to stamp out. Success would not only bolster the reputation of Soviet science but provide useful anti-religious propaganda to boot.

But it was actually crazier. More.

Intellectually respectable: Not an effort to prevent awareness of the implications of Darwinism in human society; a look at the evidence.

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14 Responses to Why were the Soviets trying to create a human-chimp hybrid?

  1. semi OT: a new video

    Jonathan Wells: On Francis Collins and Junk DNA – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hksGZcqJ5h4

  2. Hey Ms. O’Leary, Your on Youtube!!!

    Denyse O’Leary: Catholics & Evolution [God & Evolution] – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA780yWDZAI

  3. Boy, gotta love where that Darwinian idea goes in the hands of a fanatic . . .

    It is an interesting question, however. Could a human and another primate breed, and if not, why not? What is it that prevents it, and is it the kind of thing that could be expected to arise naturally, just by a long absence of interbreeding?

  4. With the use of IVF could one at least create a hybrid embryo as a first step. If Mammoths (big hairy things) and Elephants (smaller smooth things) could produce offspring, why not chimps and humans?

  5. Could a human and another primate breed, and if not, why not?

    Absolutely, we do it all the time.

  6. idnet.com.au: “If Mammoths (big hairy things) and Elephants (smaller smooth things) could produce offspring, why not chimps and humans?”

    That’s like asking: since Word can load an XML file, why can’t Excel load Linux binaries?

  7. Mung @5:

    “Could a human and another primate breed, and if not, why not?

    Absolutely, we do it all the time.”

    Could you clarify? The only example I can think of is mating with Homo neanderthalensis, which has even been classified as as Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. (only a subspecies) by some.

    Your response seems somewhat present-tense.

  8. Of interest:

    Study Reports a Whopping “23% of Our Genome” Contradicts Standard Human-Ape Evolutionary Phylogeny – Casey Luskin – June 2011
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47041.html

  9. Could you clarify?

    You of all people know, I am sure, that humans ARE primates.

    So of course we breed with other primates.

    So what is a non-human primate species?

    One that cannot breed with humans of course.

    Can humans breed with non humans?

    The question answers itself. By definition, no.

  10. Great, thanks, Mung, for taking the discussion off in the weeds. Please accept my apologies for writing quickly.

    Let’s rephrase it the way I should have phrased it initially (and which you knew): “Could a human and another non-human primate breed, and if not, why not?”

  11. Could a human and another non-human primate breed, and if not, why not?

    No, they could not. Because, if they could breed successfully:

    1. The human would not really be a human, it would be a non-human.

    OR

    2. The non-human would not really be a non-human, it would be human.

    UNLESS

    The offspring was sterile.

  12. Mung, you’re getting hung up on the idea that species can’t interbreed, which, yes of course, is one common definition of species (although not a completely clean definition). Then you are saying that because humans have been defined as a separate species, then by definition they can’t breed with something defined as a different species. We get it. We understand the semantic technicality you are focusing on. We realize you are trying to dismiss an extremely interesting question with a wave of the semantic wand.

    Now, let’s move beyond the semantic technicality and get to the underlying science (which does not depend on whatever definitions or semantics we want to overlay on it): If it is true that a human and a non-human primate cannot breed, why is that the case? What prevents it? Is it simply that there are too many incompatabilities, so that the attempt to breed doesn’t work? Or is there an actual preventive mechanism that recognizes and pro-actively shuts down any such attempt? What changes would need to be made in order to make interbreeding possible, and do those changes constitute an irreducibly complex system that is unlikely to have arisen by slight successive modifications? Does the proposed time gap between humans and the proposed common ancestor hold up in light of the changes that currently prevent interbreeding? Etc.

    There are many interesting questions here that could be asked and studied and that could shed some real light on the alleged common ancestry (rather than just running base pair comparisons of genomes, for example).

  13. Among other things, Mung is trying to demonstrate the vacuity and uselessness of this plastic non-definition of ‘species.’

  14. But as far as mating is concerned, don’t humans have a different number of chromosomes from other primate species?

    Would that present a barrier?

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