The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Story of Oliver, Chimpanzee/Humanzee

Oliver, along with another chimpanzee, was brought by Frank Burger from Africa to New Jersey in the 1960s. From the very start, both Frank and his wife Janet noticed that Oliver was different from the other chimps they trained.
From a very small age, Oliver could walk on two legs, a feat that not many apes can achieve and even if they are taught to do so, they can only sustain it for a short duration. Oliver had many facial characteristics that
weren’t common in other apes. He had a small bald head with pointed ears and a smaller nose. This physical difference meant that Oliver was excluded by the other apes that he was surrounded by.

But this didn’t stop Oliver indulging in human characteristics. Oliver preferred human company and would watch the TV and smoke a cigar. After Frank died, his widow, Janet was in charge of the performing apes that they trained and she believed that Oliver was a Humanzee. She believed that he was like “a little human”.

Some other people close to the Burger family believed that “something is in there”. What set Oliver completely different from the other apes was when he reached maturity, Oliver started to have a very strong attraction to his owner Janet Burger and at times he wouldn’t leave her.

With an ape who was a lot like a human vying for her love, Oliver was then sent off to an attorney

Michael Miller who brought Oliver to the media exposure. Oliver reached such heights of media success that he was all over the papers and the news and was even transported to Japan.

The trip to Japan was a turning point for Oliver because even though his owner was told it was going to be for scientific purposes, it was clear that the Japanese media wanted to portray Oliver for entertainment. In a show that grabbed in almost 26 million viewers, Oliver was given through a set of very simple tests conducted on him. A test looking for the centre of gravity in Oliver concluded that he was more human than ape.

Another test on the chromosomes concluded he had 47 chromosomes. A human has 46 chromosomes and an ape has 48 chromosomes, meaning that 47 was in the middle, so the possibility of Oliver being a hybrid was high. Out of the 40 cells that had been tested, 38 cells had 48 chromosomes but 2 cells had 47. His media attention didn’t stop there as a Japanese actress said that she would sleep with Oliver and this even would be telecasted on TV.

But away from the media attention that Oliver had been given, in the 1980s, Oliver faded from the spotlight and ended up eventually in Buckshire Corporation

, a laboratory that sent animals for testing. Oliver was never tested on but confinement in a small enclosure meant that after 9 years in the tiny cage, Oliver suffered with muscular atrophy once he came out. Now Oliver is blind and arthritic but enjoys freedom in Texas, in a sanctuary called ‘Primarily Primates’.

But back to the scientific value of Oliver, why is it that Oliver is like this? Is he truly a hybrid between a human and a chimp? Why is it that his characteristics so different to an ape but slightly similar to a human? Was he a human or an ape? The answers would come, but gradually. Most hybrids, like mules which are the result of crossing a horse and a donkey, are sterile.

They don’t have the ability to reproduce purely because this is nature’s way of preventing the cross breeding of animals in the wild. Clever, it seems. But Oliver wouldn’t be able to qualify for this test because firstly, Oliver was shunned by his fellow ape companions and secondly, Oliver preferred the love of a human being than a chimp. A very detailed test conducted on Oliver by the University of Chicago revealed that Oliver had 48 chromosomes and not 47. It did seem apparent that there was some sort of mutation but the conclusion remained that Oliver was an ape.

But just finding these results may not be the answer to everything. Questions rose

as to whether Oliver was a mutation, resulting in a sub species present in the deep forests of Africa that we don’t know about and haven’t found out yet. Many years ago, humans and apes were exactly the same with a common ancestor. What set us as humans apart from the apes were our highly developed brain and our ability to walk on twos.

Could Oliver’s habit of walking on two legs mean that Oliver was an example from that transition stage where an ape began to walk like man? Could it possibly mean that if Oliver was able to breed, then eventually an offspring would be produced what we today call a human being? Questions will cloud your mind but watching the footage of Oliver just makes you want to believe that he is a hybrid of a human and an ape. There is no denial in it that Oliver will intrigue you.

There have been rumours (which are apparently true) that an ape and human hybrid has been created in the 1920s but the infant born was killed by the creators for fear of media exposure. This makes you wonder what really caused the fear. What was that infant like? In another incident, China created a similar being where a female ape was inseminated with human sperm and was impregnated with a human and ape cross but rioters destroyed the building and the surrogate ape died.

As Oliver’s present owner at ‘Primarily Primates’ says Oliver won’t live very long. So any tests to crack the human genetic code and the ape’s genetic code would be necessary to have them on Oliver now. I highly recommend you to watch the videos below to find out about Oliver. Even though tests conclude he is an ape, is our human technology so advanced that it can guarantee that Oliver is an ape? What is there is more technological advancement that makes Oliver a human and ape cross?

In a world of today, it isn’t true that we haven’t got the technology. We have more technology for science than we could imagine, but simple things, like religion, morals, ethics and media prevent intriguing questions like whether Oliver is a human and ape cross or an ape from brewing up and getting apt answers. Oliver truly won’t live long and we shall never find out the solid truth if we remain sceptical of the current findings, until we meet someone else like Oliver, the ‘humanzee’.

Source and 6 Videos

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