History of the world’s first amphibian man
At the time when boys read the fantastic novel by Alexander Belyayev The Amphibian Man and dreamt of conquering the sea deeps, military men were getting ready for large-scale underwater wars. American Francis Faleychick was the first amphibian man; a special operation was performed on him. However, further fate of the experiment became a secret of the US Navy department. There were several other unique scientific developments that could have provided humanity with access to the underwater world long ago.
In 1962, famous oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau spoke at the second international congress on underwater researches and said that the nice fancy about an amphibian man could become reality. The scientist said, Homo aquaticus wouldn’t need complicated apparatuses for underwater swimming. A tiny device would be implanted into his body which would aerate the blood. It was planned that first experiments would be held on animals in the 1970s, then on humans in the 1980s and Cousteau said that Homo aquaticus will actively explore the underwater world.
Quite enough time has passed since that time, but no phenomena of that kind can be found in our present-day life. Was the oceanographer mistaken with his forecasts? It’s not quite so. Experiments for creation of amphibian men were actually held. But secret departments seized the results of the experiments. Indeed, as the director of the US Navy medical research laboratory George Bond said, a man with artificial gills would have acquire fantastic capabilities: he could dive to the depth of 3.5 kilometers. Such a man could have been a wonderful saboteur!
Did the scientist declared so on the basis of some exact experiments or told just some invented information? Unfortunately, there is no reliable information on this problem. If some surgical operations were actually performed to implant gills to humans, they were extremely secret.
However, as Russian almanac It Cannot Be True! thinks that investigations in the sphere could have been done in a different way.
Doctor Johannes Kilstra from the Leiden University in the Netherlands supposed that human lungs could perform the role of gills: he said that processes in human lungs and in gills were similar. He added that humans could breath under water if necessary amount of oxygen would be dissolved in it. The first series of experiments was started in 1959. Mice in a physiological solution rich in oxygen under the pressure of three atmospheres remained alive just within several hours.
Francis Faleychick became the first American who agreed to become the first Amphibian man. The experiment was held at the medical center of Duke University in presence of just few people. The experiment was filmed, and several details of the experiment could be seen in the film. After the throat anesthesia, the man under the experiment was inserted an elastic pipe into his trachea, then the lungs were filled with a special solution through the pipe. The aquanaut was quiet and gave a sign saying he was OK. The man could breath with water for four hours. Results of further experiments held in this sphere are unknown.
American biochemists Celia and Joseph Benventura crated a tiny device that could extract oxygen from sea water, the device was patented in 1976. A book-size packet attached to a diver’s body could provide the man with oxygen within an unlimited period of time. In order to be used by a submarine with a crew of 150 men, this device could be of a cylinder size of one meter in diameter and three meters long.
The secret of the device consisted in usage of haemoglobin, which not only makes our blood red, but also transport oxygen in the human organism. The device contained a spongy polyurethane material saturated with haemoglobin. Water was let through it. And absorbed oxygen was picked out with the help of low electric current.
It is known that American company Aquantic Corporation paid millions of dollars to get the right to handle the patent developed by Celia and Joseph Bonventura. However, apparatuses based on “a haemoglobin principle” never came to the market. It is highly likely that the Pentagon took the invention into its hands.
Were experiments of this kind ever held in Russia? Although there is no reliable information on the problem, this doesn’t mean that nothing of this kind was held here at all. It is not ruled out that Soviet and Russian military departments were getting ready for waging wars with the help of “ichthyanders” (such was the name of Alexander Belyayev’s Amphibian man). If not in creation of humans capable of breathing under water, but with development of armament Russia is ahead of the whole of the world. Recently, Russian television demonstrated new kinds of shooting armament; there was also a sub-machine-gun that could fire bursts under water. As the TV program reported, no analogous weapons existed abroad.
It seems that the dream of humanity to conquer the see deeps cannot be hidden in strong safes. Recently a group of journalists witnessed a fantastic submersion performed without any devices and technical apparatuses.
Fisherman Pakino from the island of Luson in Philippines rubbed himself with oil in order not to become frozen at the depth of about 60 meters under water, then he took a heavy weight into his hands and jumped into the sea from the board of his boat. When the man stayed under water for ten minutes, all observers got extremely worried. But friends of the fisherman said that of Pakino didn’t come up to the surface, it meant that he didn’t want to. The minute hand made almost a complete circle when the man came up to the surface.
Sensational publications appeared all over the world. People could hardly believe that Pakino could stay under water for almost an hour. Some people said that he probably had some oxygen cylinders at the bottom of the sea which helped him not to come up to the surface for a very long period. But when Pakino invited journalists from all over the world to come and see him diving, the man unexpectedly broke his previous record.
What is the secret of the phenomena? Probably Pakino uses the system of the Indian yoga who often demonstrated that could do without water, meals and oxygen for a very long period. However, Pakino felt much more active after his diving as compared with yogas who submerged into a unusual state and their bodies stiffened after such experiments. Doctors and specialists haven’t yet discovered the secret of the amphibian man from the Island of Luson, but they are perfectly sure that the man’s physical state is the same that any other human has.
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://science.pravda.ru/science/2003/6/20/57/6855_ixtiandr.html
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