Half-man, half-ape?

I was watching a Discovery channel documentary yesterday about Oliver, a freaky chimpanzee who walked upright and liked to drink alcohol and flirt with human women. A lot of the circus people (and some scientists) speculated that maybe Oliver was half-human.

Just a couple of years ago, it turns out, they tested Oliver’s DNA and conclusively proved that he was NOT any part human. But it still raises a pretty interesting (and scary) question. Has man ever interbreeded with ape in modern times? Is it possible or even legal?

Even if it had been attempted (intentionally for scientific purposes or otherwise) it’s highly doubtful that the process would result in viable offspring. We share a lot of genetic material with chimps, but not that much!

Here’s a link toa similar Q/A.

Yeah, lotsa human-chimp questions lately.

What? Everyone’s love life that bad?

Has this come up already? I did a search for chimp on the boards and didn’t see anything.

So yeah, the documentary made it sound like we DID share enough genetic material to at least produce something like a mule, but I was skeptical. It seems like this would have come up before, at least as a theoretical question, if it were actually possible.

Well… [link deleted]

Umm… on second thought, while not strictly “adult” that pics probably not appropriate for the SDMB. Would a mod please delete.

I really wish I had heeded your warning. Ick.


Lovely to see a rudey pic that Etisalat hasn’t managed to block yet :wink:

Though it’s not really rude - just hairyscary…

Despite what pasunejen’s link suggests, there is no hard evidence one way or the other.

A differing chroimosome count has never prevented two species interbreeding yet. Sheep and goats have differing chromosome counts and can produce hybrids via normal mating. Przwalski and domestic hybrids take it a step further, with differing chromosome counts yet remaining 100% interfertile with totally fertile offspring.

The timescale since the two species split is also not an insurmountable hurdle. Camel X llama, cattle X bison and sheep X goat hybrids are all known, and the time separating those species those species is further than the distance between humans and chimpanzees.

The only way to tell whether humans and chimps are interfertile would be to try crossbreeding them. The ethics of the situation of course should prevent anyone actually trying this. The other point to note is that many of the hybrids listed above only rarely produce offspring, so a great many trials may be needed to produce a result.

Thanks; after further searching I realized I needed to correct myself–it seems like scientists (those that take the time to consider it seriously, anyway) are divided on the issue, but it’s all speculation one way or another.

That Discovery Channel show mentioned two rumors of hybridization experiments, but could not produce any hard evidence. One was a tale about an experiment in China (which just happened to be destroyed by the Cultural Revolution), and the other was a friend-of-a-friend story (and the friend just happens to be dead). No pictures, no paper trail.

Well human eggs have been fertilized suceesfully with chimp sperm (apparently something you can’t do with monkey sperm), but of course no ethical scientist would allow the embryo to mature. It isn’t completely ludricous to suggest that it could be possible to make a human-chimp hybrid as there’s no conclusive evidence either way.

Follow the monkey.

I’m getting tired of these Discovery ‘documentaries’ that take a full hour to say what could have been said in 15 minutes (OK, just 5 minutes). The other 45 minutes is rather dubious speculation and reactions of witnesses (who cares?).

What they didn’t address at all is the possibility of hoax. If you looked at Oliver in his most recent video in is older years, you see his face more dark and ape-like than his younger years. No longer did he look very human-like.

You also see him walking on all fours in his latter years, though we were told he always preferred to walk upright. And when you look at the video of him walking upright in his younger years, it’s usually when a trainer is holding his collar leash close and high. Heck, I’d walk on all fours if it kept me from being constantly choked.

Discovery ‘science’ has very little of it.

Like the current announcement from the Realeans (sp?) regarding their successful cloning experiments (with no proof being offered), be skeptical of claims of amazing genetic science.


You, know I’ve been fascinated by this subject for years, and did watch the Discovery Chanel episode. It wasn’t as bad as many, but sure left a lot to be desired.

I had never seen very good pictures of Oliver before, and he sure is pretty freaky looking. But other than his face, he sure looks 100% chimp, down to the fingers, arms, feet, etc.

Blake pretty much summed thing up in his post, above. I’ve always wondered, though, why some scientists didn’t try to crossbreed gorillas and chimps. No ethical problems there, and it might give us a good hint at the possibility of human/chimp hybridization. Gorillas diverged from the Chimp/Human line just a bit earlier than the time when the Chimp/Human split occured, but they do have the same number of Chromosomes as Chimps. THis suggests that 48 chromosomes is the ancestral ape pattern.

There was this exact debate a few weeks ago. I did a quick search and couldn’t find it. Funny. I know it was there, because I participated in it.

Could a Human/Chimp pairing produce offspring?


Can humans and chimps breed?

In case you’re not aware - you can find all of your previous posts by clicking on the “search” button below any one of your own posts.

I’ve seen them do this before. Nothing new.

Who doesn’t?

Once again, who doesn’t? Can we help it if our species was blessed with the hottest females on the planet?

Then again, I have to wonder if Sharopolis really likes the human women, or if he prefers interspecies breeding.

Ha, just kidding my friend and welcome to the SDMB.

Actually Lord Ashtar, Oliver walked bipedal most of the time, which was the odd thing. The show made some comments about how his hips were not in regular chimp position (IIRC).

Also, Oliver wasn’t attracted to female chimps and they seemed to be equally repelled by him.

It was an odd show.

I’m willing to put this interspecies breeding thing to a rest.

Get me a female chimp!

That is just a matter of definition that was made before genetic testing. I in fact there is a movement to put chimpanzees into the Homo genus.