National Geographic is putting out Hitler’s Jurassic Monsters, a documentary on Nazi plans to revive ancient species. These plans were mostly unknown to the public before the inception of the documentary, as the plans were rarely recorded in written form and primarily only known to some of the higher officers of the Nazi regime. The title of Hitler’s Jurassic Monsters may bring to mind a certain Spielberg movie, and this is not far off.
As with the film, which focuses on dinosaurs, the Nazi plan to breed ancient types of cattle was based on new (for the time) theories on genetics. While the film involved plans to recreate the natural vegetation and terrain to which dinosaurs would theoretically be accustomed, a similar plan is detailed in Hitler’s Jurassic Monsters to set aside a forest that the raised cattle was suspected to have roamed in their heyday. There was also a great deal of consideration toward the genetic techniques used in the creation of the animals, namely a technique called back breeding.
There was potentially much more than simply cattle involved in the project. For instance, one of the animals proposed for back breeding was the tarpan, an ancient horse known to be much more aggressive than the typical modern steed. Hitler’s Jurassic Monsters will show how much progress was made in the Nazi plan before it was abandoned at the end of the Second World War. There was some progress made in both the acquisition of land and, potentially, the breeding itself.
In terms of land acquisition, they cleared out the forest that they wanted and sent many of the people living there to concentration camps. While it took them a long time, they also managed to breed what they thought was similar to an extinct form of cow.Hitler’s Jurassic Monsters has more details on these cows, though it is claimed by scientists that it bears little similarity in terms of actual genetics, the Metro reports.
As will be seen in Hitler’s Jurassic Monsters, these plans were never fully fruitful. Even the forest they acquired was obviously not going to stay in their possession once Germany lost the war. It is now used as a nature reserve where many endangered European species are allowed to thrive, for instance the incredibly uncommon European bison. No one actually knows what happens to the animals bred for the experiments detailed in Hitler’s Jurassic Monsters, but what is known is that they have never been seen since.
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