Hitler’s Jurassic monsters
This is the untold story of a Nazi vision, that went far beyond the military conquest of European countries.
As part of their crazed dream to create a thousand-year Reich they developed detailed blueprints for Aryan settlements and vast hunting parks for ‘Aryan’ animals.
Goering and Himmler employed Germany’s best scientists to launch a hugely ambitious programme of genetic manipulation to change the course of nature itself, both in the wild and for domestic use.
In a fascinating blend of politics and biology, Hitler’s Jurassic Monsters is the true and asthonishing story of how the Nazis tried to take control of nature and change the course of evolution.
Heavy Breading (Cabinet Magazine – Spring 2012)
In 1920, the brothers Lutz and Heinz Heck, directors of the Berlin and Munich zoos, respectively, began a two-decade breeding experiment. Working with domestic cattle sought out for their “primitive” characteristics, they attempted to recreate “in appearance and behavior” the living likeness of the animals’ extinct wild ancestor: the aurochs. “Once found everywhere in Germany,” according to Lutz Heck, by the end of the Middle Ages the aurochs had largely succumbed to climate change, overhunting, and competition from domestic breeds.
The last aurochs herds died out in the Polish-Lithuanian Union, where a documented population persisted under royal protection in Mazovia until the middle of the seventeenth century. Historical descriptions of these animals identified the aurochs as similar to domestic oxen, but entirely black, with a whitish stripe running down the back. More distant accounts emphasized their ferocity and imposing size. Julius Caesar described the aurochs of Germania as an elephantine creature prone to unprovoked attack… Read the full article at cabinetmagazine.org.