A Living Human-Chimp Hybrid: Science or Sensation? The Truth About the Alleged Human-Chimp Hybrid Experiment

The geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky (1964) famously wrote “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,” and ironically the evolution of humans from apes is still a mystery. Geneticists say that there may have been a long period of cross-breeding between early ancestors of humans and chimpanzees before they finally split into their various genera approximately six million years ago. For decades, various scientists have made attempts to mate humans and chimpanzees. There isn’t any scientific proposition that says this is possible, however, humans and chimpanzees have similar DNA composition and coding sequences which might give the theory a fighting chance.

Human Chimpanzee

Human Chimpanzee Credit: DALL·E

Read Also: Read Also: Chinese Scientists Generate Functioning Blood Cells Using Interspecies Chimerism

Where it all started

As far back as the 20th century, there have been records of experiments by Soviet biologists involving artificial insemination between female chimpanzees and human sperm. Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov was one of such biologists. He was a successful specialist in the industry of artificial insemination, being extremely successful at horse breeding. Moving forward, he began to experiment on different animal species. With his unquenchable thirst for hybrids, he often cross-bred different animal species; zebra and donkey, rat and mouse, guinea pig and mouse, and an abomination in the name of a cow and an antelope.

Read Also: Chinese Scientists Generate Functioning Blood Cells Using Interspecies Chimerism

He then went further to explore the possibilities of cross-breeding humans and apes. Other scientists wondered about the possibility of this like the way the scientists of today wonder about the existence of a white hole or parallel universes. So many false human-ape hybrids have come up in the past, but never were they proven to be true, just plain old chimpanzees. Various experiments have been carried out long after Ivanovich but there is no proof that the results were any different.

In 1924, he was finally allowed to test this insane theory in a place then known as French Guinea. During his pitch where he tried to inseminate African women unknowingly, he emphasized that the experiment has the potential to validate Darwin’s theory regarding our close kinship with apes, thereby undermining religious beliefs. He received funding from the Soviet Financial Commission and approval from the Soviet Academy of Scientists and senior government officials.

With his unlimited access to chimpanzees, he cross-bred away. He put human sperm into female chimpanzees, however, his experiments kept on failing.

Oliver Chimpanzee

Oliver the Chimpanzee credit: Unknown origin via Wikimedia Commons.

Ivanovich went ahead to suggest putting chimpanzee sperm into women, which was illegal of course. But Ivanovich always got what Ivanovich wanted. Humanity lost a great ad exec to the world of human-ape cross-breeding. Unfortunately, the plans didn’t pan out, leaving Ivanovich unfulfilled and “humanzeeless”.

Read Also: Scientists Make Embryos That Are Part Human, Part Monkey

Records also have it that a female chimpanzee was inseminated with a human sperm, which produced a humanzee. However, the scientists euthanized the half-ape, half-human infant after they realized the ethical implications of the experiment, even though it seems they had no concerns about its morality before birth. Then again, no solid evidence confirms this.


Genetically, all great apes have similar structures. Humans and chimpanzees have similar DNA up to 95% and 99% of the proteins that code the DNA of both species are also similar. This should make cross-breeding achievable.

However, looking at their chromosomal makeup, humans and chimpanzees have 23 and 24 pairs of chromosomes respectively. Additionally, the individual genetic differences between humans and chimpanzees are significantly greater than the genetic differences between any two unrelated humans. The combination of these factors gives their offspring not much of a fighting chance.

Although they are significant challenges, they are not insurmountable. Gene editing tools like CRISPR make all the difference. Horses and zebras are two other species that have successfully reproduced in the past with similar genetic abnormalities, but the progeny are nearly always sterile.


Despite the glaring scientific facts, biologists still think that human-ape cross-breeding is possible. Notwithstanding how fascinating the concept is, it could end up doing more harm than good.


Is It Possible for Humans and Chimpanzees to Interbreed? (n.d.). Is it possible for humans and chimpanzees to interbreed? – BBC Science Focus Magazine. Retrieved November 22, 2023, from https://www.sciencefocus.com/nature/is-it-possible-for-humans-and-chimpanzees-to-interbreed

The Russian Scientist Who Tried to Create a Human-Chimp Hybrid (in the Worst Way Possible). (2021, March 2). IFLScience. Retrieved November 22, 2023, from https://www.iflscience.com/the-russian-scientist-who-tried-to-create-a-humanchimp-hybrid-in-the-worst-way-possible-58902



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