Oliver The Chimp

Oliver The Chimp

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Ratings: 5.96/10 from 27 users.

Oliver The ChimpIn January 1976 news broke of a phenomenon. Pictures showed an upright bald ape called Oliver, who appeared to be a cross between a human and a chimpanzee; What scientists refer to as a humanzee.

Oliver's photographs shocked the world, and in the media frenzy that followed he became an international celebrity. In Japan his human-like behavior earned him cult status. In New York some journalists described him as the missing link. Others dubbed him Bigfoot. Oliver gradually faded from the spotlight and eventually disappeared.

Now 30 years later, he has been found still alive. And with the latest DNA profiling, we can finally solve the mystery of the humanzee.

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8 years ago

An interesting twist for a documentary. Intriguing was the inside story of someone in the early 1900's that crossed a human with a chimpanzee, and brought it to term. (just to see what would happen - human nature)
Oliver's attempt to mate with his human female owner spoke something of his desires, (no wonder she sold him) and the Japanese women who was willing to mate with Oliver said something of hers.
What I appreciated most was the scientist who was trying to patent the combination to expose the hypocrisy of the change in patent laws regarding living organisms. ( greed rules the day, without exception)
In any case, a documentary worth checking out, if only to consider the 'possibilites'.

9 years ago

Does anyone else see the difference in facial structure between the Oliver from the beginning of the film and the "Oliver" from the end of the film? I'm sorry but they look like two totally different Chimps to me.

Arthur Axelman
10 years ago

Check out any documentary on the Bonobo Ape. It's Oliver's origins. He was NOT ever a chimanzee, he was a Bonobo Ape. With all of the shysters and con man (and women) surrounding and exploiting the sweet and bright ape, including supposedly knowledgeable scientists and animal pros, no one ever mentioned the Bonobo possibility?
Once again, Oliver was NOT a chimpanzee, he was a Bonobo Ape.
RIP dear fellow.

10 years ago

People seem to have a need to humanise just about everything so it is no surprise to me that when shown a creature that naturally reflects a large amount of human like characteristics that is immediately jump to the conclusion that it must be part human. We don't want to accept that other animals have the capability to change and grow and become more human, we want to maintain our separate status that makes us unique. Obviously that means that anything so similar to us has to be human in some way.

11 years ago

R.I.P Oliver 1958 – 2 June 2012

Thomas Stanfield
11 years ago

damn too bad that Japanese chick didn't bang him. what the hell is wrong with that lawyer?

john kay
11 years ago

leave oliver and his cousin george bush alone

1/3 of you would chase, capture, transport, imprison, analyse, poison, cut, probe, kill , then preserve poor ole Oliver as a trophy
1/3 of you would mostly do the same but eat him
1/3 of you would make him a pet
doesnt leave many of you to just let him be and the people that would are considered

dont check his molecule dna hormone structure check yours

hes not a mutation; you are
he has evolved but you havent

perhaps if people didnt destroy everything then we can really leaarn something and we could all evolve
people shoukld stop over analyzing everything
if you shutup and listen you might learn something
the world and oliver is talking to you - enjoy it for what it is

i bet this monkey has more intelligence than most people

silly, stupid human race
too smart ? for its own good
death to you all

11 years ago

Looks like George Bush.

11 years ago

pretty cool documentary, the constant questioning of whether or not he was a chimp or human made me view oliver in both ways.
despite the dna results, its still interesting to hear from people's firsthand impressions of and experiences with oliver.
i can only imagine the implications if the dna results found oliver to be more human than chimp. i enjoyed the documentary.

12 years ago

oliver appears to be the living evidence of the "evolutionary dead end".. a major "variant" mutation of his species, that wouldnt fit well into the "environmental niche" efficiently exploited by his species... his rejection of species socialization shows he never would have reproduced in the wild... it would have been interesting to compare his midachonrial dna to a humans, just to see what abberant differences in the chimp "normal sequence" he exhibits tend to align with "human normal" sequence...

12 years ago

I'm a little suspicious of the "friend" , you know the proff. pianist who volunteered to keep Oliver after he tried date rape Janet. He seemed a little to eager for the job if you know what i mean....

12 years ago

lol a real life "Harry and the Hendersons"

13 years ago

What a depressing documentary. Nothing to take comfort in except the humane attitude of the 'Primarily Primates' staff who are trying to care for abused primates. Well done them. Because of you we humans can almost hold our heads up. Shame on everyone else.

It's hard to find someone to single out for opprobrium when so many deserve it, but I would pick (a) Dr Patrick Dixon for his complacent, creepy, repellant attitude about the 'inevitability' of monkey-human hybridisation (b) the person, I've forgotten the name, who breeds 'ligers' i.e. lion / tiger hybrids for being an idiot who should not be allowed to abuse the animals in his 'care' and (c) the lawyer who took Oliver to Japan for his self-serving, money-grubbing attitude which seems to have come straight out of 'King Kong the Movie'. Some people have not lost their integrity; they have had it surgically removed, driven a wooden stake through it, and then buried it under a ton of concrete to make sure it never, ever, comes back. Shudder.

About Oliver: there is a standard ratio which relates body size and brain volume. For his height, Oliver appears to have an abnormally small skull. The footage of Oliver shows him often making a 'lolling tongue' facial expression. It is abnormal in apes for the tongue to protrude to this extent. If the skull were malformed then the tongue might be 'too big for the mouth' and thus be forced forward. There were few recordings of Oliver's vocalisations but what I could hear sounded abnormal for an adult male chimp or bonobo and this might be further evidence of malformation of bones and soft tissues. Abnormalities in the skull often correlate with abnormalities elsewhere in the skeleton and might account for the upright gait. It could be that the unique characteristics of Oliver may be best explained as symptoms of a congential abnormality i.e. what makes him unique is pathology (which may explain why he has not, so far as we know, successfully mated). All that argues against pathology is his longevity. On balance, I do not think it likely he represents a new species, although it would be pleasing if he did since we have so few ape species on earth at present.

Whatever else you might say about this, Oliver's story does not reflect well on humanity. We look pretty shabby in this.

13 years ago

Jack doesn't realize that his argument supports evolution as much as it tries to disprove it. He shows that random mutation can produce human-like characteristics, which is all evolution requires to produce humans over time.

13 years ago

Looks like someone have been having sex with a chimpanzee..~

Bustin Jeiber
13 years ago

Uh wierd

13 years ago

What is all this monkey business about now?

13 years ago


my comment about the skeletal structure was in response to jack claiming if archaelogists found his skeleton they would claim it was a missing link. but that wouldnt be the case because nothing about what they would find would show that.

if you have read my other comments on here you would have understood me better...i dont hold it against you.

and spoon...notice how humans suffer from lower back problems almost universally....that is because WE are quadrupeds that have evolved to walk on our hind legs but havent evolved that ability perfectly so it still hinders us. we once walked just like they do because we both evolved from the same ancestor.

13 years ago

@Charles B.
Well said.

13 years ago

your understanding of evolutions seems to be rather outdated. There would not have to be any skeletal differences at all, and it could still be a completely different species, sub species, or mutation. Genetics is turning up species within species all the time. For example the giraffe was once thought to be a single species, but because of genetics it has now been shown that there are 6 or more species (known as crypto species). There are no visible differences, but when you look at the DNA you find that one species of giraffe and another have been separated for over 100,000 years.
You rather rudely told Jack the Rabbit not to comment if he doesn't even have a high school understanding of evolution, but it seems to me like a high school understanding of evolution might be all you have.

13 years ago

@James, Do you know what type of skeletal differences there would have to be for it to be classified as a different species.

also why would we have to examine the skeleton if we know the genetics? once again. a basic understanding of evolution would clear all this up for most people.

13 years ago

maybee he is the next step in chimp evolution...after all evolution is mutation.

13 years ago

Based on most of these comments I assume that the majority of people posting didn't actually watch the whole documentary.

13 years ago

Was interested until "Dr Patrick Dixon" mentioned a hybrid Human-Monkey. Discussion being about a Chimpanzee, which is an Ape.. Day time TV, not science.

13 years ago

he looks like mike tyson

13 years ago

this is too funny.............i want an Oliver......... well not if hes a bonobo like Randy said ....... good point by the way .I saw a great doc on bonobos a while back, I think on PBS .... after watching this , one should try to find it @pbs.org or somewhere like that......... great point though.......

13 years ago


Rolling on the floor laughing! (I hate internet slang, even as I use it from time to time because all the kids are crazy about it these days...)

13 years ago

Bonobos, the sinners among god's creation.

13 years ago

I haven't watched this doc, but I have heard of Oliver before, years ago. I knew about it peripherally, but never paid it much mind, assuming it was a trained chimp, (knowing they can walk upright for short periods, even in the wild.

Years later, I saw him briefly discussed, on ANOTHER documentary on evolution and went, "hmmmm..." but then didn't really pay it any more mind.

Since then, I have learned about the Bonobo (I am spelling it phonetically), chimp discovered by Jane Goodall in... I'm gonna say, mid to late 90's? Very recent, in any case.

The Bonobo's were an exciting find because they seem, characteristically at any rate, much closer to humans. They walk upright for a much longer time and more frequently than other chimps. But more importantly, they have sex with each other for comfort, rather than only when the females are in estrus (I know I spelled that wrong so I'm gonna use the more vulger term, "in heat"), and are the only other mammals besides us that do so.

They also engage in ORAL SEX, homosexual behavior, and, creepily, sex with pre-pubescents... (nature is sometimes very ugly...).

Dr. Goodall never noticed them before, she says, because she always focused on specific troupes of chimps, and when she noticed the Bonobos she assumed they were just another troupe of the same species she studied.

I submit, just off of the hip here, that perhaps Oliver was a Bonobo. Which, as I say, wasn't discovered until very recently.

13 years ago

@Epicurus: how would you know there is no skeletal structure that would show a change in species in Oliver? My argument is that since he is a mutant ape, his bones may have been altered as well that can be perceived by so called archeologist that he has skeletal changes. Scientists cannot tell whether Oliver is half man - half ape or just ape when they examined him, I would thought they would do at least x-ray on his skeletal bones but they still can't tell. They only found out after they took his DNA the second time. Have you seen Oliver's skeletal bone? How the hell can you be 100% sure? Maybe you should be more open minded or are you one of those archeologists who wants to keep his job just a bit longer?

13 years ago

there is no difference in his skeletal structure that would show a change in species or a drift in evolution.


jack the rabbit
13 years ago

Imagine Oliver died and buried, 10-100 yrs later an archeologist dig his grave and found his bone, an ape who walks upright, this archeologist will no doubt claim that Oliver is the missing link. Oliver is the proof that ape can through mutation walk upright and who knows how many mutant apes have been found by archeologists who claimed that they found the link between ape and human? Archeology is full of this kind of mistakes and they make theory of evolution based on these mistakes. Which make it very unreliable.

13 years ago

It's unlikely that he is just a mutated chimp. Mutations of that degree usually make the subject unable to live on its own, without major surgery.

For both the hip and the head to be mutated in a usefull way without creating major problems....possible, just as possible as Aliens landing tommorow at 6:00 in the morning. ;)

Plus there is the sophisticated social behavior.

My guess is: He's part of a subspecies, yet to be discovered.

Charles B.
13 years ago

Poor Oliver. What a sad life he's had. I don't think he's some new kind of ape, either. That's rubbish. Rather, just an unfortunate chimp mutation which was exploited because of his differences. Perhaps other chimps rejected him sensing that he was geneticly inferior in some way, "as a chip". Let us hope no true "humanzee" is ever created in the lab or otherwise.

13 years ago


13 years ago

OMG don't bring Ostrich Human Hybrids into the discussion - it's confusing enough!

13 years ago

if @loli is human but insist on sticking in head in the sand like an ostrich, it sounds VERY POSSIBLE there's a birdbrain in our mist.

13 years ago

@ loli

Chromosomal numbers don't make it "IMPOSSIBLE".
Mules and Hinnies have 63 chromosomes, a mixture of the horse's 64 and the donkey's 62.

13 years ago

Absolutely disgusting abuse of a living being! Ridiculous to believe that a human and chimp DNA would combine to make a "humanzee" Our chromosomal numbers are not alike, hence IMPOSSIBLE!!

13 years ago

Well theres a soul in there for every living being. Its their behaviour that makes us think theyre just living 'things'.

13 years ago

During the Napoleonic Wars a French ship was wrecked off the Hartlepool coast.

During the Napoleonic Wars there was a fear of a French invasion of Britain and much public concern about the possibility of French infiltrators and spies.

The fishermen of Hartlepool fearing an invasion kept a close watch on the French vessel as it struggled against the storm but when the vessel was severely battered and sunk they turned their attention to the wreckage washed ashore. Among the wreckage lay one wet and sorrowful looking survivor, the ship's pet monkey dressed to amuse in a military style uniform.

The fishermen apparently questioned the monkey and held a beach-based trial. Unfamiliar with what a Frenchman looked like they came to the conclusion that this monkey was a French spy and should be sentenced to death. The unfortunate creature was to die by hanging, with the mast of a fishing boat (a coble) providing a convenient gallows.

13 years ago

Mh boring doc. No scientific research, just providing food for the sensation-hungry. This is probably as low on my scale as "ZOO".

13 years ago


It's interesting that his scent is different and that normal chimps won't interact with him.

Look at the way he smiles in Part 3. It's very human-like!