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Sukhum monkeys will be granted a long life2010-07-19 16:21
There are a lot of breathtaking rumors about Sukhum apery, which is a brief name given by tourists to Experimental Pathology and Therapy Scientific Research Institute of the Academy of Science of Abkhazia. As one of the stories goes, in the 20s of the last century, Russian scientist Ilya Ivanov developed a hybrid of man and ape. He started his experiments in Sukhum and allegedly finished them in exile in Kazakhstan. Since then, Yeti is said to roam the forests and mountains.
The fact that such experiments were carried out is out of doubt. For instance, it is confirmed by the following advertisement published in the Soviet Abkhazia newspaper on 18 May 1930: "We are looking for women-volunteers ready to take part in experiments on crossing with apes; must be interested in the idea, not the money". According to the letter of one of the apery employees recently cited by the Week Arguments newspaper, they managed to find several women-volunteers, as well as men.
However, the experiment was doomed to failure. Apes have got two chromosomes more than men, so fertilization was initially impossible. Besides, men and theroid apes have got different acid condition in relevant parts of organism, and germ cells die quickly. Growing babies in tubes became possible later on, when such experiments on men were forbidden by the international convention joined by the USSR.
However, Sukhum apes' role was not limited to such experiments. May times Soviet scientists tested medical drugs on them, such as, for instance, anti-smallpox, anti-hepatitis and anti-yellow fever vaccine.
The institute was in great demand; the work was humming and the number of test animals reached one thousand. Things changed with the USSR collapse and the beginning of the Georgian-Abkhaz war. Some apes died of hunger and cold; others were taken to Krasnodarskiy region. Now there are just about 300 apes in Sukhum.
To intrigue the tourists, guides say that the apes ran away during bombing. That is not quite true. In the 80s, several animals were let out to Abkhaz forests to see whether they would naturalize in the climate. They did not, judging by today's fruitless search. The remaining apes survived the war sitting quietly in their cages.