Messed Up Experiments That The Soviet Union Conducted

During its comparatively brief existence, the Soviet Union was deep into technological advancement. There are obvious examples — they developed their own atomic bomb just four years after the United States. Their space programs sent the first satellite into orbit, then the first man. Also, for a while there, they tried to sew extra heads onto dogs, and take the heads off of dogs, and see how much poison a dog could breathe. The Soviet Union wasn't a great place to be a scientist's dog.

Sergei Brukhonenko, for example, made a difficult-to-pronounce name for himself in the field of trying to make Futurama a reality by keeping disembodied heads alive. Specifically, dog heads. Dog heads, as the particularly antsy kids in the neighborhood can tell you, are notoriously difficult to keep fresh once you take them off of the rest of the dog. That's where Brukhonenko's autojector machine came in. Reported on by Nature way back in 1937, the autojector was supposedly capable of keeping a pup noggin "alive for six months, reacting to all stimuli." Video of the experiments has been a point of fascination to researchers for years, and nobody seems certain whether he actually managed to pull off what he was claiming, but his fat stacks of dead puppies helped pave the way for the development of open heart surgery techniques.

Ethics be damned, we've got dogs to weld

Now, on the other side of the coin, there was Vladimir Demikhov, who looked at dogs and went "they need more heads, not less." If lopping off a schnauzer's melon to see how long it can stay alive was disturbing to you, be warned that this one, somehow, seems worse.

In a proto-Human Centipede set of experiments, Demikhov would remove roughly the top third of a small dog, then transplant it onto the upper back of a larger one. Was it an act of unparalleled medical prowess, made all the more impressive by the fact that the test subjects would live for as much as a month after the procedures were carried out? Sure. Were Demikhov's other ventures into organ transplantation directly responsible for much of what is now common medical procedure? Undoubtedly. But also, cutting dogs in half and sewing them to other dogs is one of those things that the girls from bridge club really turn their noses up at.