Since long before the hit musical "Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off!" humans have looked at our shared traits with our closest evolutionary relatives and wondered if we can incorporate them into our society. As Troy McClure put it, with every ape we see/ From Chimpan-A to Chimpan-Z.
And yet you can count me among those who has a dread fear of that very scenario. Sure, the idea of monkey butlers is appealing. The thought of an idyllic paradise where these noble creatures can be trained to live among us, taking care of all my yard work and clean up after me so I have more time to finish watching Justified is tempting as hell. And if they happen to be the kind of apes who speak sign language, ride roller skates, and hilariously smoke cigars, so much the better. I would vote for that in a second.
But we all know it never ends like that when mankind tries to play God. It's always a worst case scenario. Some human always goes too far. And meddling with Nature like that inevitably leads to the evolutionary pyramid being flipped over on its pointy top. And the next thing you know gorillas are carrying rifles on the backs of horses while we're wearing loin cloths and have lost the power of speech.
I mention this because this very moral issue has hit the news again:
Source - News of a mysterious "hybrid monkey" with DNA from two different species shook the science world last week.
The monkey, spotted near the Kinabatangan River in Malaysian Borneo, appears to be a combination of two different species that are actually competing for forest space, a new study suggested.
However, a much stranger breeding project was attempted a century ago when a hybrid between humans and other animals was planned in a bid to supplement the armed forces and create a perfect “factory” for transplant organs.
In the 1920s Soviet scientists in Russia were ordered by dictator Joseph Stalin to create a hybrid ape-man “super soldier” capable of working under extreme conditions too dangerous for ordinary humans.
Secret documents from the time, declassified in the 1990s, show that Kremlin chiefs wanted an unbeatable army of man-apes with "immense strength but with an underdeveloped brain” that were "resilient and resistant to hunger".
And similar efforts are actually ongoing today.
Do we need any further proof that our species is capable of ruining absolutely anything?
I mean, here we have a perfectly nice story. Almost romantic. Two warring species of ape are fighting for resources. And yet out of that turf war, two monkeys find love and make a baby. It's like West Borneo Side Story, where Tony and Maria meet by picking fleas off each other instead of in a dance at the gym. And in this one, they actually fuck.
But thanks to the hubris of humankind, it has to turn ugly. Fast. A reminder that, on a genetic level, we can't have nice things. We can't just simply make Humanzees because it would be cool and entertaining. We have to basardize the whole idea. To turn something beautiful into a killing machine. A Weapon of Man-Ape Destruction.
And while sure, I love the idea of Stalin deploying his elite Humanzee Corps in Eastern Europe to defeat the Nazis - thousands of baboons intimidating Hitler's infantry by displaying their bigger, redder asses, gorillas driving tanks through the Panzer Divisions, crack squads of orangutans flinging grenades covered in their feces into foxholes all along the Ostfront - you know it wouldn't have ended there. The Axis Powers would've developed their own Humanzee weapons program. The man-apes on both sides would've realized the folly of fighting each other and eventually turn on their human overlords. And we'd be the ones right now doing all their manual labor instead of the other way around.
So while I'm happy for that hybrid monkey in Borneo, I have no faith that humanity could pull off the same thing. The apes are too good for us.