Through 2020, Elon Musk’s company Neuralink paid $1.4 million to the University of California, Davis, to use its facilities, where experimenters removed portions of monkeys’ skulls to implant electrodes in the animals’ brains related to the development of a “brain-machine interface.” Only in 2022, following a public records lawsuit by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, did the troubling details of these experiments begin to come to light. The company is still conducting experiments on animals at its facilities in California and Texas.
This is the story of one monkey, “Animal 12.” She was a macaque who was almost 7 years old when she was used in Neuralink experiments at UC Davis in February 2018. She was first put through “chair training,” where she was restrained like the animal in this picture.
On July 17, Neuralink experimenters drilled holes in her skull and implanted electrodes into her brain using a robot. A titanium plate was then attached with bone screws “to cover the burrhole.”
Following the experimental procedure, Animal 12 began to have seizures. She was put on an anti-convulsant medication.
The day after invasive brain surgery, Animal 12 had an enlarged right pupil, a lazy eye, and conjunctivitis in both eyes. She was also licking the cage bars. Her implant was infected, and she was put on antibiotics.
Two days after surgery, Animal 12 was still not eating much. She also vomited in the morning and was noted to have a “decline in stool quality” and diarrhea—possibly from antibiotics. She was put on probiotics.
On July 27, lab staff noted that they only needed to continue treatment “until project end point July 31,” at which point Animal 12 was scheduled to be killed by Neuralink.
On July 30, Animal 12 was noted to be “aggressing at cage front” and to have a scabbed incision.
The next day, Animal 12 was sedated with ketamine and killed by Neuralink staff so her brain could be removed. The necropsy indicated she had stomach inflammation.