Remember that Italian guy who said he was aiming to perform the first human head transplant in December 2017? You might have forgotten about Sergio Canavero but he hasn’t been messing around in his spare time, no, he’s been busy at work and claims that he’s performed a monkey head transplant successfully.
Featured Image VIA
Apparently it went down at Harbin Medical University in China, where lead researcher Xiaoping Ren headed up a team who allegedly managed to connect up the blood supply between the head and the new body. Unfortunately they didn’t bother setting the spinal cord together with the new head and the monkey ended up dying 22 hours later (via euthanasia as they didn’t want to keep it alive in those conditions), but this still apparently marks a big breakthrough in the project.
That’s because Canavero says that is proves that the monkey’s head can survive the experiment if it is cooled to -15°C and will be able come out of it without any brain injury. Presumably the next step is to try it by fusing the spinal cord and neck bones together, although nobody has yet verified Canavero’s claims although the picture you see above does exist. That doesn’t really prove anything though as the monkey could quite easily have been dead already before the head was stitched onto the body.
We’ll keep following this situation as it develops over the next two years, and hope that Canavero’s claims are correct for the man who has volunteered to undergo the first human head transplant. That’s some balls right there.