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  • Writer's picturePhillip Radcliffe

A Human-Chimpanzee Hybrid?

(Japanese translation below)

By Shingo Narita

Do you know the chimpanzee named Oliver who came to Japan on July 15, 1976? He is different from a normal chimpanzee. His face was white, he had little hair on his head, and his ears had a distinctive pointed shape. Also, he walked on two legs without bending his knees. He also liked beer and coffee and could smoke. These clearly show different characteristics from other monkeys.

However, because of these strange features, Oliver was examined more scientifically in the U.S. The examination looked at his chromosomes. Humans have 46 chromosomes and chimpanzees shave 48 chromosomes. Oliver was confirmed to have 47 chromosomes. In other words, he seemed to be a hybrid of a human and a chimpanzee, but what exactly is the truth?

After the U.S, Dr. Momoki Hirai at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences conducted a culture test on Oliver's leukocytes, a type of blood cell made in the bone marrow, and found that he had 48 chromosomes, the same as chimpanzees. After the examination, Oliver walked on all fours with the back of his hand naturally on the ground. Apparently, walking on two legs seems to be the result of training.

From 1977 to 1989 Oliver was used as an attraction at different locations. From 1989 to1998 he was bought by a scientific and cosmetic testing company where he was confined to a small cage. In 1998 he was transferred to a primate shelter and sanctuary. Oliver spent the rest of his life in this animal shelter.

Oliver died at the age of 55 on June 2, 2012. When he died, his girlfriend named Raisin was next to him. Currently, broadcasting such things on television is prohibited, but it was very popular in the past. That is why we should cherish and protect nature, including animals.


成田 眞悟




結局のところオリバーは「人間とチンパンジーの混血種」と謳われて人間のみせものとなっていたのだった。オリバーは、この動物保護施設で平穏に余生を過ごすことになる。2012年6月2日に死去。享年55。最期のときは、かたわらにレーズンという名のガールフレンドがいたという。マスメディアに取り上げるだけで禁止となっているが, 当時はこのような加熱した番組が流行っていた。今では考えられないことだが、今だからこそ動物を含め自然もっと大切にするべきなのである。


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