Oliver: Chimp, Humanzee Or Orang Pendek?

Mighty_Emperor

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anome said:
On the other hand, it could well be. There's a group in Africa (of pygmies, I believe) that has the widest genetic range of any other group of people in the world, and who are considered by some (as a result) as being the closest to the early hominids. (Although they are clearly Homo Sapiens Sapiens.)

Chimpanzees have a much narrower range, and haven't done a mass exodus out of Africa (which tends to bottleneck one's genetic variation). So it is possible. Can't swear that it is true, though.

All true (I'd also throw in our travelling and mating habits) - I did a quick search for some online evidence:

When humans faced extinction

By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Online science editor

Humans may have come close to extinction about 70,000 years ago, according to the latest genetic research.

The study suggests that at one point there may have been only 2,000 individuals alive as our species teetered on the brink.

This means that, for a while, humanity was in a perilous state, vulnerable to disease, environmental disasters and conflict. If any of these factors had turned against us, we would not be here.

The research also suggests that humans ( Homo sapiens sapiens ) made their first journey out of Africa as recently as 70,000 years ago.

Little diversity

Unlike our close genetic relatives - chimps - all humans have virtually identical DNA. In fact, one group of chimps can have more genetic diversity than all of the six billion humans alive today.

It is thought we spilt from a common ancestor with chimps 5-6 million years ago, more than enough time for substantial genetic differences to develop.

The absence of those differences suggests to some researchers that the human gene pool was reduced to a small size in the recent past, thereby wiping out genetic variation between current populations.


Evidence for that view is published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Oldest members

Because all humans have virtually identical DNA, geneticists look for subtle differences between populations.

One method involves looking at so-called microsatellites - short, repetitive segments of DNA that differ between populations.

These microsatellites have a high mutation, or error, rate as they are passed from generation to generation, making them a useful tool to study when two populations diverged.

Researchers from Stanford University, US, and the Russian Academy of Sciences compared 377 microsatellite markers in DNA collected from 52 regions around the world.

Analysis revealed a close genetic kinship between two hunter-gatherer populations in sub-Saharan Africa - the Mbuti pygmies of the Congo Basin and the Khosian bushmen of Botswana.

First migration

The researchers believe that they are "the oldest branch of modern humans studied here".

The data also reveals that the separation between the hunter-gatherer populations and farmers in Africa occurred between 70,000 and 140,000 years ago. Modern man's migration out of Africa would have occurred after this.

An earlier genetic study - involving the Y chromosomes of more than 1,000 men from 21 populations - concluded that the first human migration from Africa may have occurred about 66,000 years ago.

The small genetic diversity of modern humans indicates that at some stage during the last 100,000 years, the human population dwindled to a very low level.

It was out of this small population, with its consequent limited genetic diversity, that today's humans descended.

Small pool

Estimates of how small the human population became vary but 2,000 is the figure suggested in the latest research.

"This estimate does not preclude the presence of other populations of Homo sapiens sapiens (modern man) in Africa, although it suggests that they were probably isolated from each other genetically," they say.

The authors of the study believe that contemporary worldwide populations descended from one or very few of these populations.

If this is the case, humanity came very close to extinction.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/2975862.stm

Published: 2003/06/09 17:35:30 GMT

© BBC MMIV

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2975862.stm
 
A

Anonymous

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Oliver the humanlike Chimp

Did anyone catch the programme about Oliver a chimp that was initially thought to be a hybrid with a human on Channel 5 the other night ?

After watching this programme it made me think about The Bigfoot Patterson Footage in that it may indeed be real .

Here is an url with some info on Oliver :
http://www.rotten.com/library/cryptozoology/humanzee/
 

Mighty_Emperor

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The Goosebear: I've merged you post with the main thread which has more discussion of the topic - as far as I was aware that documentary is a repeat (both on Channel 5 and Discovery).
 

Mr_Eamcat2

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Dredging up an old topic, I was reading an old FT copy from 97 last night and got to wondering what the fate of poor old Oliver was.

Anyone know if he's still alive?
 

Mighty_Emperor

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I've moved this over to the Oliver thread.

As far as I'm aware he is OK isn't he?

The Wikipedia entry doesn't say he has died:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_the_chimpanzee

Hmm they link to the Karl Shuker article I do above but the link is dead - I've got a cached version and I'll get Al to put it online.

edit: It is already online here:

forteantimes.com/articles/120_oliver.shtml
Link is obsolete. See later post for the MIA article.
 
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Dessie32

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Born a chimp will die a chimp. I think all the upright walking, aided on camera by his handler holding his lead, was exaggerated. He didn't mix with other chimps rubbish came about because:

a) He was fussed over by humans so much that he never got much chance.
b) I think he was never actually captured in the wild in the first place and was born and brought up in captivity. So he was never exposed to the group living habits of wild and zoo living chimps.

I think in his retirement home he does mix with other chimps quite well now.
The chromosone thing was a myth has 48 like most chimps.
There was some talk after the humanzee theory was put to rest that he may be a bonobo/chimp mix but never heard any more about it. If that was the case then he was definatly born in capitivity because the two species don't mix in the wild.
 

naitaka

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Sanctuary takeover called animals' 'lucky day'

At one time, Primarily Primates was a sanctuary for some of America's greatest pioneers in science: chimps subjected to sleep deprivation, arthritis studies or brain tests, all part of experiments touted for the good of humankind.

But nearly three decades after its founding, the refuge looks nothing like the animal retirement home whose managers once counted game show host Bob Barker and Walt Disney Productions among its donors.

Now the shriek of animals and the smell of urine fill the air. There is no septic system on the property and the heating system doesn't work, according to officials close to what has become a controversy there.

Most primates sleep on hard concrete and stare out between the bars of their cages, packed together on property that is still concealed from its residential neighbors in far Northwest Bexar County behind the thick Hill Country foliage.

Circumstances at the facility came to light Friday after the Texas attorney general's office placed the site under court-ordered management. State officials cited the deplorable conditions and mismanagement of donations.

"That was these animals' lucky day," said wildlife preservationist Lee Theisen-Watt, named receiver of Primarily Primates.

She will oversee the site and determine how best to rehabilitate it.

No charges have been filed against the facility's managers or its founder, Wallace Swett. He still lives in a house on the Primarily Primates property.

Swett could not be reached for comment Sunday.

But the situation at the sanctuary, in the 26000 block of Dull Knife Trail, extends far beyond Bexar County, officials said.

"Most zoos in the country have put animals here," said Mel Richardson, a veterinarian formerly with the San Antonio Zoo who now practices in California.

He was called to San Antonio to help assess the health of animals at the site.

Past celebrity primate guests included about 30 chimps used in America's space race experiments. Oliver, the chimp that walked upright and was once mistakenly earmarked as the evolutionary missing link, still lives here.

Sanctuaries are often the only repositories for injured or older animals or animals no longer useful in experiments, or because the zoos where they were raised are overcrowded.

Sanctuaries themselves often are full and go unchecked by government authorities because they don't fall under the umbrella of the Animal Welfare Act, Richardson said.

At Primarily Primates, a staff of about five cared for more than 800 animals, Theisen-Watt said.

That included a menagerie of other creatures kept on the property, including leopards, a lion, 75 guinea pigs, some mice, dogs and various birds, said Leana Stormont, legal counsel with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

PETA filed a complaint with the attorney general's office about the facility in May.

Many animals were improperly secured, Richardson said. The lion's cage had no roof.

Chimpanzees, strong and sometimes violent, need four locks on their cages, but only one was on them, he said.

Animal experts have expressed concern about contamination in light of the disease and drug experiments conducted on many of the primates before they came to the sanctuary.

Previous staff members hosed down the cages and washed the feces onto the ground, Stormont said. All of the waste eventually flowed into a large cesspool on the property or into Leon Creek.

Millions of dollars may be needed to bring the facility back to an acceptable state, Stormont estimated. Many animals will probably be removed to other facilities.

The state could choose to dissolve all of the corporation's assets or reinstate it if the sanctuary again serves its original purpose to care for the animals, Theisen-Watt said.

In the meantime, workers hope to provide the animals a better quality of life than what they'd experienced for many years.

"That's our immediate goal, to provide immediate relief for every single animal," Theisen-Watt said.

As she walked around the facility two days after the seizure, Stormont cooed to one macaque monkey, living alone in a round, metal cage with only two plastic toys for play. It reached its paws through the bars, grabbing at the bits of Banana Nut Crunch cereal she threw to it.

"These (animals) don't have a lot to look forward to," Richardson said.

San Antonio Express-News, from Cryptomundo.com
 

Kondoru

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You mean the Zoos didnt check it out before sending animals there?

All the zookeepers I know would have.
 

GNC

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There's an obituary for Oliver in the latest FT 292. At least for his final years he found some peace after all that fuss about him.
 

oldrover

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I thought he'd have died years ago.

Poor little bugger.
 

oldrover

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No he didn't, a lot of it stemmed from the fact that he seemed so human. That said if he'd been just another chimp it might have been a lot worse.

The Buckshire Corporation, a Pennsylvanian laboratory leasing out animals for scientific and cosmetic testing, purchased Oliver in 1989. His entrance examination revealed some previous rough handling. He was never used in experiments, but for the next nine years, his home was a small cage, whose restricted size resulted in muscular atrophy to the point that Oliver's limbs trembled.
 

Kondoru

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Ok, but do we know just what he was?
 

Kondoru

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Ah, yes, but `what` chimp?

We know there are several kinds.
 

Kondoru

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Thats ok then, why the mystery.

its not like he was a orang utang or some such ape exotica.
 

Quake42

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Thats ok then, why the mystery.

He had certain human characteristics - walked upright, had less hair than most chimps and apparently shunned the company of other chimps in favour of humans. I think early reports also suggested he had 47 chromosomes.
 

EnolaGaia

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OK the Karl Shuker article is a bit older than I thought but is in FT120:48-9 (1999) and deals with all the gross morphological features as well as the DNA - apart from his jaw (which has changed shape due to his teeth being removed) everything else is within the general range of chimpanzee variation. Most of this is drawn from a study carried out in the 1970s but such conventional expalantions don't make such interesting TV ;)

edit: the article is also online here:
n2.net/prey/bigfoot/creatures/article.htm
edit2: Link broken - its here at:
forteantimes.com/articles/120_oliver.shtml
Links are dead. See later post for the 1999 Fortean Times article.

Here's the MIA Fortean Times article ...
Oliver's No Gene Genie
Karl Shuker
FT 120
March 1999

A chimp or a mutation? A half-human 'missing-link' or simply genetically diseased? After tracking Oliver for over a decade, cryptozoological detective Dr. Karl Shuker is able, at last, to reveal his identity.

Oliver first came to widespread public attention in 1976, when newspapers and magazines worldwide became interested in the strange 'chimpanzee' that New York attorney Michael Miller bought off a travelling animal-act owner called Frank Burger, allegedly for $10,000. The chimplike Oliver was about seven years old and had reputedly been obtained in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). The first clue suggesting that Oliver may not be as other chimps was the reason why Burger had sold him.
oliver.jpg
According to media accounts, Oliver had never been accepted by Burger's other chimps and could not be trained to perform with them in their stage act. Instead, he preferred to walk on his hind legs, sit crosslegged on a chair, and help Burger's wife, Janet, with the chores around the house.

Oliver also made it clear that he fancied her. Not surprisingly, Janet issued her husband with an adamant proclamation concerning her pesky paramour: "I'm not putting up with this. He's going or I'm going." So Oliver went - sold by Burger to Miller.

It was not only his behaviour, however, that distinguished Oliver from other chimps. Much was made in media reports of his strange morphology. Although his black fur and pinkish-brown skin were run-of-the-mill chimp characteristics, great emphasis was placed upon his bald, seemingly small, egg-shaped cranium (in normal chimps this is more commonly hairier, larger, and flatter), the unexpectedly reduced prominence of his jaws (thereby yielding a somewhat humanoid appearance), his pointed (rather than rounded) ears, and even his freckles. Conflicting accounts were given regarding Oliver's body odour. Some media reports described it as very strong; yet after explorer Lieutenant Colonel John Blashford-Snell had examined him at the 1976 Explorers Club Annual Dinner in New York, he announced in his book Mysteries (1983) that Oliver had little or no body odour.

Odour or no odour, the media bloodhounds pursued the scent that something was not quite right with Oliver. It was claimed (but never substantiated) that, when Miller took Oliver to Japan in the mid-1970s, blood tests conducted by scientists had shown that Oliver had 47 chromosomes - one more than humans, one less than chimps.

Inevitably, these contentious claims (eventually fully disproved) prompted all manner of bizarre identities for Miller's eggheaded enigma. If Oliver were a Down's Syndrome chimp, as some asserted, he would have possessed an extra chromosome (i.e. 49), not one chromosome less than normal for chimps. Others speculated that he might be a mutant form of chimp, or a new sub-species or even species of chimp. Scaling ever further up the ladder of improbable identities, Oliver might be a hybrid of common chimp Pan troglodytes and bonobo (pygmy chimp, P. paniscus); a specimen of the elusive hairy man-beast of West Africa termed the sehite... or even a crossbreed of chimp and sehite. Most radical of all - could Oliver be the offspring of a chimpanzee-human mating? In an item on African mystery primates in the Reader's Digest compendium volume Man and Beast (1993), I opined that Oliver was merely a western African chimp - but with much more dramatic options on offer, the media never paid much attention to this in their reportage.

During the late 1970s and through the 1980s, Oliver vanished from the headlines, but was often exhibited as a freak or 'missing link' at various sideshows. In 1977, Michael Miller sold him to Ralph Helfer, partner in a Californian theme park called Enchanted Village. When the park closed down later that year, Helfer continued exhibiting Oliver in a new venture, Gentle Jungle, which changed locations a few times until it closed down in 1982. Oliver was transferred to the Wild Animal Training Center at Riverside, California, owned by Ken Decroo, but he was allegedly sold by Decroo in 1985. The last trainer to own Oliver was Bill Rivers.

In 1989, Oliver was purchased by the Buckshire Corporation, a Pennsylvanian laboratory leasing out animals for scientific and cosmetic testing. Mercifully, he was never used in experiments, but for the next seven years his home was a 7 x 5ft (2.1 x 1.5m) cage, whose restricted size resulted in his muscles becoming atrophied so much that his limbs trembled.

Happily, in 1996, Oliver's confinement came to an end, when he was retired to an animal sanctuary at Boerne in Texas's Hill County. Called Primarily Primates, it offered spacious accommodation and allowed Oliver to return to good health. And as to the news headlines, the sanctuary's director, Wally Swett, was determined to solve the mystery of his celebrity guest's taxonomic identity once and for all.

Swett asked Chicago University geneticist Dr David Ledbetter to examine Oliver's chromosomes, which he did in autumn 1996. His studies revealed that Oliver had 48, not 47, chromosomes, thus disproving the earlier claim and confirming that he had a normal chromosome count for a chimpanzee. Swett, however, desired further analyses to pin-point Oliver's precise status. Accordingly, he persuaded DNA analysis expert Dr John fly from Texas's Trinity University and cytogeneticist Dr Charleen Moore from Texas University's Health Science Center to conduct the most extensive genetic studies ever undertaken with Oliver. Their results were published in 1998 by the American Journal of Physical Anthropology and disclosed the following.

Standard chromosomal studies fully supported Ledbetter's findings that Oliver had the diploid chromesome count expected for chimpanzees (i.e. 48 or 24 pairs). They also revealed that his chromosomes possessed banding patterns typical for the common chimpanzee but different from those of humans and bonobos, thereby excluding any possibility of Oliver being a hybrid.

Moreover, when they sequenced a specific portion (312 bp region) of the D-loop region of Oliver's mitochondrial DNA they discovered that its sequence corresponded very closely indeed with that of the Central African subspecies of common chimpanzee; the closest correspondence of all was with a chimp specimen from Gabon in Central-West Africa. This all strongly suggests that Oliver also originated from this region and is simply a common chimp - an identity entirely consistent, therefore, with my own little-publicised opinion from 1993.

After decades of mystery, Oliver's identity had finally been uncovered, exposed by his genes. But what of his external idiosyncrasies? Fly and Moore's paper contained some eye-opening infermation dating back to the 1970s, but which was presumably not sensational enough to attract the interest of the media and thus had not previously received publicity.

For instance, although media accounts had noted that Oliver was toothless (his teeth had been pulled), they had not revealed that primatologist Dr Clifford Jolly had examined Oliver as long ago as 1976. Jolly found that Oliver did not share the strikingly prognathous (projecting) jaw line of other chimps due to resorption of the alveolar bone, a shortened maxilla and premaxilla (upper jaw bones), and underdeveloped temporal musculature. Jolly had concluded that these features were in turn caused by Oliver's toothless condition. He also concluded that Oliver's habitual bipedal gait was due to conditioning.

As for Oliver's cranial morphology, ear shape, freckles and baldness, these were nothing more than individual variations, well within the range of variability exhibited by the common chimpanzee - a species that presents, in the words of primatologist Professor W.C. Osman Hill: "a bewildering variety of individual variations".

Although no longer special in taxonomic terms, Oliver is destined forever to remain a classic example of how media hype and sensationalist publicity can create with Frankensteinian fervour a veritable monster from the most mundane of animals.

Cryptozoologists everywhere, take note - remember the time a chimp made a chump of the world's media. Let us all hope that Oliver can now live the remainder of his days in peace, far away from the unwelcome media glare that has blighted this mild-mannered, highly-intelligent being's often traumatic and tumultuous life.

SALVAGED FROM THE WAYBACK MACHINE:
https://web.archive.org/web/20060127085719/http://www.forteantimes.com/articles/120_oliver.shtml
 
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