Weird History: The Ivanov Experiments

In February 1926, Russian biologist Ilia Ivanov set out for Guinea in French West Africa, where he planned to perform one of the world’s most sensational experiments.

He planned to use artificial insemination to cross an ape with a human.

…I know…

So, Ivanov was an expert in artificially inseminating animals and had use his techniques to create a wide assortment of hybrids. He had successfully created  a ‘zonkey’ (zebra & donkey) and a ‘rouse’ (rat & mouse) and a ‘muinea pig’ (mouse & guinea pig). In my book, he was 100% barking mad.

ZonkeyA ‘Zonkey’…quite cute actually!


Ivanov felt that the experiment would be possible in light of how successful he had been in his cross-animal breeding experiments. And, due to how close evolutionary biologists of the time regarded apes and humans. Seems legit right? No…it is really questionable!

He attempted to produce a ‘humanzee’ in 1924, where, after multiple attempts he failed. He first attempted to produce human male/chimpanzee female hybrids, with no success. Ivanov then attempted to use ape males and human females to produce hybrids, but was unable to complete the experiment because at least five of the women died.

You kind of have to question the morals of the female participants, who would have had to carry a mutant child?!


The research failed and has not been attempted again…well, at least not publicly! The work of Ilia Ivanov is the only acknowledged attempt in the record books of such an experiment.

Of course, we now know that the creation of a ‘humanzee’ is impossible; humans have 46 chromosomes and apes have 48. Therefore, a miss-match would always occur. Also, there are around 40 million base pair differences between humans and our closest evolutionary relatives, apes.

Basically, it would never have worked!

Planet of The ApesNo Charlton, no!


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