Oliver

Odd Primate of Central Africa.

Significant sighting: In the 1970s, an unusual-looking male chimpanzee nicknamed "Oliver" was the center of a controversy involving an unsubstantiated claim that it only had forty-seven chromosomes. (Chimpanzees normally have forty-eight, humans forty-six.)

Possible explanation: Theories abounded that Oliver was a mutant, a new species, a Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) x Bonobo (Pan paniscus) hybrid, or even a bonobo x SEHITE hybrid. A 1998 study of Oliver's mitochondrial DNA, however, showed that he did have forty-eight chromosomes and was merely an odd but normal African chimp, probably from Gabon.

Sources: Robert E. Jones, "Oliver: An Unusual Ape," Pursuit, no. 32 (October 1975): 92-93; John J. Ely et al., "Technical Report: Chromosomal and mtDNA Analysis of Oliver," American Journal of Physical Anthropology 105

(1998): 395-403; Karl Shuker, "Oliver's No Gene Genie," Fortean Times, no. 120 (March 1999): 48-49.

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