King Kong humanzee trivia

1 minute read

I'm coming late to this story, but it's still timely! The New York Times has an op-ed by Clive Wynne linking the inspiration for the original King Kong to Soviet attempts to breed a chimpanzee-human hybrid:

The young Soviet Union, in its effort to stamp out religion, was determined to prove that men were descended from apes. In 1926, a Soviet scientist named Ilya Ivanov decided the most compelling way to do this would be to breed a humanzee: a human-chimpanzee hybrid.
Ivanov set off for a French research station in West Africa. There he inseminated three female chimpanzees with human sperm. Not his own, for he shared the colonial-era belief that the local people were more closely related to apes than he was. He stayed long enough to learn that his experiment had failed.
Next Ivanov wrote a Cuban heiress, Rosalia Abreu. Abreu was the first person to breed chimps in captivity and had a large menagerie outside Havana. Ivanov asked if any of her male chimpanzees might be available to inseminate a Russian volunteer known to posterity only as 'G."

The link to King Kong is not all that convincing, but the story of how this Soviet science project was ultimately stalled by the Ku Klux Klan is a good read.

I found the story via Evolgen, which has further thoughts about human-chimpanzee hybridization and chromosome number incompatibility. Evolgen got the story from John Wilkins' Evolving Thoughts, which has further thoughts as concerns hybridization in the development of nineteenth-century biology. All well worth a read, especially since they are free supplements to the movie!

Now, if someone could explain to me why there is a single giant gorilla on this island of dinosaurs?

Or better, why the gorilla isn't a dwarf? I can understand about the dinosaurs -- after all, reptiles get bigger on islands, right?