Nazi Wanted to Resurrect Prehistoric Animals

It turns out that Hitler at one point aimed to resurrect prehistoric animals so that his officers could use them for big game hunting. It is commonly known that the Nazis engaged in vast amounts of scientific experimentation, but this is certainly one of their lesser known projects. The primary goal of the project to bring back prehistoric animals centered on wild Auroch cows, seven-foot-tall horned mammals extinct for nine thousand years.

This revelation comes in the form of a documentary film entitled Hitler’s Jurassic Monsters. Apparently, while big game hunting was a proposed use for the Auroch cows, this was not the only reason for attempting to reinstate them as a species. Germany was in the midst of encouraging a return to its roots, and the prehistoric animals had ties to ancient Germanic civilization. The “back breeding” used to bring back the beasts would also have advanced scientific knowledge of genetics and how to bring back other extinct species with relations to species currently extant today.

Hermann Goering supervised the project, using historical and archaeological findings to inform studies on the Auroch cows. He anticipated the cows’ reproduction to begin in enclosures before they were released in an area prime for hunting. The prehistoric animals would have provided a new hunting challenge for Goering, who was already a skilled gamesman. In addition, the ties to Germany’s primeval roots would have potentially solidified the Nazi party as something more than a New Order.

Despite being referred to as “cows,” the Aurochs would have been incredibly hostile and would have provided a challenge to any gamesman for more reasons than simply their size. Their attitude combined with the size of their horns would have made hunting the prehistoric animals particularly dangerous. On top of that, Goering wanted them to eventually be bred into the Bialowieza forest, where they would have had something of a home field advantage over any predators, the Mail Online reports.

The project of breeding prehistoric animals is an intriguing one, and in some ways makes it seem as if the Nazis may have had something to contribute to society. This is overshadowed, however, by the fact that the Bialowieza forest was inhabited by Jewish people who would have to have been cleared out in order to breed the Aurochs. It appears that, even in the field of scientific advancement, looking for promise in any Nazi exercise is an incredibly slippery slope. Still, back breeding appears to be a promising idea, and if anyone else takes up a similar project it may just be a matter of time before prehistoric animals cease to be a thing of the past.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE