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Weird Scientist: Charles Claude Guthrie

By Daniel Smith on Feb 20, 09 10:40 AM

Crazy is as crazy does. Charles Claude Guthrie is a proper loon of the highest order.

Charlie was an American physiologist in the early 1900s and made such advances that you would wonder why he wasn't awarded the Nobel Prize.

He made huge contributions to the fields of resuscitation, transplants and surgery.

Transplants? Well, this is where the professor boards the Unhinged Express.

He sewed the head of one dog onto another dog. This wasn't a replacement. He wanted to create a two-headed dog.

It was described at the time: "The transplanted head was sewn on at the base of the neck, upside down, so the two dogs are chin to chin, giving an impression of intimacy, despite what must have been at the very least a strained coexistence....too much time (20 minutes) had elapsed between the beheading and the moment the circulation was restored for the dog head and brain to regain much function."

Freaky fellow. I think it was just this kind of dodgy experiments that gave the Nobel Jury some doubt.

But is this the end for the two-headed dog? Nope, some barmy Russian followed in Guthrie's footsteps in the 1960s.

Vladimir Petrovich Demikhov, no less the chief of the organ-transplanting laboratory of the Soviet Academy of Medical Sciences, decided to have a go himself.

He grafted the head, shoulders and front legs of a puppy onto the neck of a mature German shepherd.

Vlad the Bad created 20 dual pooches in the end. With the record time of survival reaching a month.

So who is the more crazy? The madman or the madman who follows?

(I did find some pictures of the poor hounds in question, but decided not to post them. They're a little too gruesome)

Weird Science Factoid: Most of your body's cells aren't yours. You're made up of more microbes than anything else. So you have an excuse to use the Royal "We".

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Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith - a long time ago, in a galaxy far away just north of Watford, Daniel fancied himself as a scientist but turned out to be the worst scientist since that bloke who mapped out all those canals on Mars that turned out to be scratches on his telescope's lens. Luckily, he is now not working on the Large Hadron Collider inadvertently creating a black hole that would swallow the world but is safely behind a desk writing this blog, bringing you the fantastical underbelly of nature... weird science.

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