Human/Chimp hybrid??? Mainline media reports...

RC Davison (
14 Oct 1996 17:30:58 GMT

One of the most bizzare items I've encountered in the media was published on
Thusrday October 10th in the Toronto Globe and Mail, Canada's self proclaimed
"National Newspaper" and notorious for its conservative and business
orientation. The item follows verbatim and in its totality.

"Oliver: Human or Ape
A peculiar chimpanzee called Oliver is retiring from the entertainment world,
reports the San Antonio Express-News. His oddities include walking on two
feet and having a very small head. He also has peculiar eye colouring, a
birdlike voice and mannerisms said to be very unchimplike. "The pervailing
view is that Oliver is simply a mutant chimp," said Dr. Gordon Gallup, an
anthropologist at the University of New York, Albany, "It's difficult to know
for sure, but I think that there is a reason to suspect that Oliver may be a
human-chimpanzee hybrid." Rumours of such taboo experiments being conducted
in China, Italy and the United States have persisted for years, but have
never been aknowledged, the newspaper adds."

If I had heard that this item appeared in the Enquirer or some other tabloid,
I would not have given it a second thought, but findin it in the Globe abd
Mail (Page A22) bring's several questions to mind.

1. Has anyone heard of this Oliver before? Since Dr. Gallup cites a
"prevailing view", is this animal known to actually exist? Or is it an
example of "urban folklore?" Seems to me that a mutant chimp which walks
upright would hold substantial interest for those studying human evolution.

2. Has anyone seen the original San Antonio Express-News article?

3. Is anyone familiar with Dr. Gallup and his work? I am very curious as to
why this gentleman would publically state that there is a reason to consider
this animal a human-chimp hybrid. If there is a legitimate scientific reason
for making this claim, as he asserts, what exactly is it?

I find this item unsettling for several reasons. First, we seem to have
embraced a mythology of government conspiracies and cover-ups (as seen by the
popularity of X-files and its progeny) which makes articles like this
acceptable ina mainstream newpaper without critical comment. Second, this
story is lent credence by the opinions of an anthropologist without
disclosing the reasons for that opinion (perhaps the fault of the media, not
the scientists).

Comments please.