Humanzee: A Hypothetical Chimpanzee/Human Hybrid

Have you ever thought about the probability of a human/ape hybrid? A humanzee (also called a Manpanzee or Chuman) is defined as a hypothetical human/chimpanzee due to the process of hybridization. Of course, many people find the process of creating human and animal hybrids to be extremely controversial and unethical. However, there are other people that actually find it very fascinating and believe it should be legal to conduct scientific experiments to make a pregnancy.

According to the S.1435 – Human-Animal Hybrid Prohibition Act of 2009 (Introduced in Senate – IS), it is illegal to not only create, but also to attempt to create a human-animal hybrid. For the those who violate the law, they can face strict penalties such as serious prison time and/or expensive fines. However, even if the process of creating or attempting to create a human-animal hybrid was perfectly legal, is it ethical? In this post, we will discuss a well-known humanzee experiment and examine the attempts for a successful creation. Although scientists suggest that a creation is hypothetically possible, we will also discuss the potential barriers that may prevent a pregnancy.

Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov And The Bizarre Humanzee Experiment

Ilya Ivanovich IvanovSince the early 20th century, artificial insemination has been in practice. Today, it is often used to treat couples with infertility. Insemination has become a popular alternative to natural conception.

Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov was a Russian and Soviet biologist who was known for his highly controversial experiment. He was a pioneer and an expert in the field of artificial insemination.  He was very successful at creating animal hybrids. By the year 1924, he had successfully crossed mice with rats, cows with bison, and even donkeys with zebras. However, he also wanted to do make an attempt that was never done before. He had a goal to create a hybrid from a human and an ape.

In the 1920s, Ivanov attempted to produce a human-ape hybrid. To increase the chance of successfully producing a human-animal, he made the wise choice of using our closest relative. Humans and chimpanzees share 95% of their DNA sequence and 99% of coding DNA sequences.

Ivanov had performed his experiments using human sperm and female chimpanzees. However, he was unsuccessful at making a pregnancy. Although he failed to create his bizarre hybrid species, he wanted to make another attempt using a different strategy. In 1929, he set up an experiment using orangutan sperm and a human volunteer. However, due to the death of his orangutan, it was delayed. Ivanov was never able to follow through with the experiment. A year later, due to him falling under heavy political criticism from the Soviet government, he was sentenced to exile in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. In the year 1932, Ivanov passed away from a stroke at age 61.

The Strength Of A Chimpanzee

chimpanzee

Human-ape hybrids would likely have many different attributes. If you cross a chimp and a human, it may possess the strength of a human and the intelligence of a chimp. However, it may have the strength of a chimp and the intelligence of a human. This can result in a big disaster.

Chimps are a violent species and are thought to be 5-10 times stronger than the average human male. They are also dangerous and unpredictable. To subdue their opponent, they will often target the face, hands and even the genitals. The last thing humanity needs is a more violent world.


Above is a scene from a television series featured on the Science Channel. The show is called Dark Matters: Twisted But True. The episodes are about topics that are related to weird science. They talk about some of the most bizarre experiments performed in all of history. The above scene is from an episode about the attempt of Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov to impregnate an ape with human sperm.

Oliver The Chimp Or Manpanzee?


In the 1970s, a chimp by the name of Oliver was thought to be a possible humanzee. There were claims that he had an unusual chromosome count for a chimpanzee. Chimpanzees have 48 chromosomes, but Oliver was said to have just 47. In 1996, the unusual count was debunked. A geneticist carefully examined Oliver’s chromosomes and revealed he had a normal count of 48. Even today, there is still no evidence for a scientifically verified specimen of a human/ape hybrid.

What Might A Real Humanzee Look Like?

Charles DarwinSo what would a being from the parents of a human and chimp actually look like? Of course, not like the above 1871 image of Charles Darwin as an ape. Let’s talk about a more realistic humanzee.

A Realistic Human-Ape?

Homo erectus

If you do a search for “humanzee” on Google images, you will see a variety of depicted faces. This even includes an image from the movie Planet Of The Apes. This is obviously because we just don’t know exactly what one would look like. For now, we can only speculate. One thing we know for sure is that it would likely have features passed on from both parents. So what do you think is the closest to what a human-ape adult may look like? Maybe like the homo erectus in the above image? Does our featured image look like a logical depiction? The depiction looks like an alien rock star!

These days, there is probably technology capable of blending a human and chimp together to create a logical portrayal of an offspring. However, perhaps there is another logical way. This could be as simple as looking back at the last common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees. We would need to examine its facial features. To do this, we would probably have to go back around 5 to 10 million years. Based on genetics and other various estimates, scientists believe the last common ancestor likely lived 5-10 million years ago. Unfortunately, we have yet to find a complete skeleton going that far back. However, there is one skeleton that is one step closer to the common ancestor.

Although both humans and chimpanzees had branched off and evolved their own distinctive features, they still share the same common ancestor. Of course, the idea of a human-ape having facial features similar to our common ancestor is pure speculation, as there are plenty of biological factors involved.

Are We Close To Finding Our Last Common Ancestor?

In 2009, scientists had announced their discovery of a complete skeleton that dates back 4.4 million years ago. Perhaps, the world’s oldest and most complete skeleton of a potential human ancestor is “Ardi” (short for Ardipithecus ramidus). The skeleton that was found includes the pelvis, feet, hands, and the majority of the skull and teeth. Below is a computer animated video of what a typical day may have looked like for Ardipithecus ramidus. Since chimps and humans had both branched off from the same common ancestor, Ardi may help us get a closer look of what not only the ancestor may have looked like, but also, an offspring from the parents of a human and chimp.

A Big Step Closer To Finding Our Common Ancestor

Hybrids Seen In Other Species

Hinny

Hinny” by Just chaos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A species is often defined as group of organisms that are capable of interbreeding and exchanging their genes. In order for two different species to successfully produce a hybrid, both would need to be very similar. If you attempt to transfer human sperm to a female toad, the toad may become pregnant, but the embryo would likely not last very long. Similarity certainly plays a crucial role.

Today, species of hybrid plants are a more common phenomenon than animals because their genetics are more variable and flexible. They also have an advantage because they evolve through isolation. However, you will occasionally get two species of animals that are closely related and capable of creating a hybrid. For example, interbreeding tigers and lions (ligers). Ligers are a cross between a female tiger and a male lion. Although the males end up sterile, the females are fertile.

A hinny is a rare cross between a horse stallion and jenny donkey. This is of course the opposite of a mule, which is an offspring of a jack donkey and a horse mare. A hinny is very difficult to obtain. Like mules, hinnies are also sterile. However, there have been reported cases of a few mare mules that had produced offspring. This occurred when they mated with a purebred donkey or horse.

Creating A Human-Animal Hybrid: The Controversy

ScientistIf scientists decide to secretly attempt experiments to create human-ape hybrids regardless of laws, they may become successful. This may lead to a new species that could have an extremely interesting impact on our world. It seems most people would reject this idea as not only unlawful, but also unethical. This is because many believe hybrids blur the line between human and animal.

According to The Human Fertilization and Embryo Bill, transferring animal sperm into a woman is prohibited. However, the opposite is actually not prohibited. So technically, human sperm can be inseminated into animal species. The fascination of crossing two species may be a great motivator for scientists, but there is also another motive that could have a positive impact on humanity.

Dr Calum MacKellar from the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics believes scientists may try to develop humanzees to fill the huge demand for organ donors. This would definitely be the positive side to possible attempts. Others disagree and believe it should be prohibited. The previously mentioned Prohibition Act of 2009 states that human dignity, as well as the integrity of the entire human species would be compromised by a population of human-animal hybrids. They also say that with the increasing threat of zoonotic infections, the genetic transfers of hybrid species can increase the virulence of the diseases that threaten the lives of not only animals, but also humans.

Final Words

Chuman” by Liza Phoenix is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Due to the advancements in science and technology, it is possible to successfully create a human-animal hybrid. However, do you believe it is unethical to bring a humanzee to the world?  Imagine our world populated with human-apes. Would we likely treat them like a human, animal or both? What rights would it be given? Feel free to share your opinion on this highly controversial subject.