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Saturday, 22 August 2015

Incredibly, People STILL ask "Just What Was Oliver?"

Some More Things Strange & Sinister
This is taken from the primate section of Some More Things Strange & Sinister


This is still,unbelievably,a question that raises much debate amongst some conspiracy theorists,some odd people attached to Cryptozoology and,of course,Ufology.  That written,I have to admit that,when you see Oliver walking upright  -never on all fours like a chimpanzee- in film and video clips it does look very strange.

Above:The “strikingly human looking” Oliver ((c. 1958 – 2 June 2012)  In fact,that statement has to come from people who have never looked closely at primates such as chimpanzees, orang utans, et al –some are very strikingly human as far as faces go –and you’ll see quite a few bald chimpanzees in zoological and wildlife park collections.

When you see chimpanzees trained to walk bipedally for films or TV you’ll notice there is a bowing of legs and awkwardness.  None of that is evident in Oliver:he struts like any human.
So what do we know about Oliver?  Well,quite a lot thanks to work by   
many anthropologists,primatologists and other researchers.  

We know that in the early 1970s,Frank and Janet Burger,animal trainers,purchased the approximately 2 years old chimpanzee,one of three brought back by Frank Burger’s brothers.  It was claimed that Oliver had been caught in Zaire,now the Democratic Republic of Congo,but the couple believed their acquisition was no ordinary chimpanzee but,perhaps,a human-chimp hybrid.  It sounds ridiculous now but there you go.  Oliver had a flatter face than other chimpanzees and there was the habitual bipedalism and he never got on with other chimpanzees.  And he never had a typical chimpanzee odour.

    But once he reached the age of 6 it seems Oliver showed a distinct lack of interest in chimpanzee females but was far more attracted to Janet Burger whom he tried to mount and mate with several times.  This made him a threat to her and so he was sold to Michael Miller for $8000.
    In 1977 Miller “gave” Oliver to Ralph Helfer,a partner in the Enchanted Village,a California theme park.  But the Enchanted Village wasn’t a very lucky one and it closed down later in the year.  However,Helfer continued using Oliver in a new enterprise,this time the “Gentle Jungle” and this had to be relocated a few times up until closure in 1982.  

    Then the Los Angeles Times published a lengthy piece on how Oliver might be “a possible missing link or new sub-species of chimp”.  Didn’t do Oliver much good.  He was transferred to The Wild Animal Training Centre,Riverside,California,owned by Ken Decroo. Circa 1985,Oliver was sold by Decroo to Bill Rivers,another animal trainer.  According to Rivers the other chimpanzees “never got on” with Oliver.

    Things then get a little murky until 1989 when the Buckshire Corporation,in Pennsylvania purchased him.  They gave him a medical and found evidence that Oliver must have been “a tough chimp” –he showed scarring and evidence of “rough handling”;odd since previous owners all talk about this wonderful chimpanzee.  Sharon Hursh of the Buckshire Corporation told researchers:

            “…we basically purchased him for laboratory
             research but he was never used.  He just sort of
             ate, kicked back and slept all day.”

Vincent Pace,a circus orchestra leader,saw Oliver at the Buckshire facility and tried to buy him –building substantial living quarters for him.  However,Pace was relieved when,in 1996,Oliver along with eleven other Buckshire chimpanzees ended up with Primarily Primates Centre in
 Boerne,Texas.  There,Oliver finally had a permanent new home,though arthritis has apparently meant he does not walk bipedally as much as he used to.  However,he can get the health care and rest he,and any captive primate, deserves for the rest of his natural life

    Oliver,”the “Humanzee”,was allegedly scientifically tested to ascertain whether he was a chimpanzee or some form of hybrid and it was reported that he had 47 chromosomes.  That’s one more than a human and one less than a chimpanzee.  That raised a furore amongst all types of people.  To some it signified that Oliver was a human-chimpanzee hybrid but as to how this creation came about goes from the pure science fiction to utter sillyness.
   A gorilla at Australia’s Taronga Zoo in Sydney likes to walk around upright on his hind legs. The two and a half year old gorilla named Mahale is a Western Lowland gorilla. Taronga Zoo’s gorilla keeper Laura Fidler

 In 2000 I was told,by a US researcher of unidentified flying objects (UFOs),that he had it on the authority of a former United States Air Force UFO “black ops” team,that Oliver was an alien-human hybrid that had gone wrong.  I often feel I talk to too many nuts.
 Like you: Ambam's upright walk became an internet hit when it was posted on YouTube
 Ambam (Lowland Gorilla)has perfected balancing on his two hind legs at Port Lympne wild animal park.

    In 1996,Science magazine published a news item that Oliver was to get a complete “gene check”.  Dr. David Ledbetter carried out the tests and these were then double checked by others.  The results,revealed that Oliver had 48 normal chimpanzee chromosomes.  Oliver is a member of the Pan troglodytes troglodytes sub-species from Central Africa.  But something else was confirmed:Oliver was most likely from the Gabon and not the Congo.

    Of course,the conspiracy theorists will say this is all a cover up by whomever they want to blame.  The truth is that Oliver is a most unusual chimpanzee and not a “humanzee”.
Above:bipedalism is not common in primates,however,a friend sent this photograph of a Maqaque used in medical research and trained to walk upright –very similar to Oliver’s gait


Since SMTS&S was published, Oliver passed away. A summary of his final days is given on Wikipedia.  Oliver had a some times sad life and hopefully, his final days were reasonably good for him.


"Oliver spent his last years with another chimpanzee, the gentle female known as Raisin. She was placed with Oliver for companionship since Oliver's advanced age and years as a test subject left him blind, arthritic and unable to interact daily with younger, more playful Chimps at the Sanctuary. 

He took part in regular enrichment activities including a watermelon smashing party documented on the Friends of Animals online Newsletter and even the chance to paint.

Although elderly, Oliver had access to the outdoors and lived the rest of his life in quiet retirement. News of Oliver as well as photos were often posted online by his caregivers, owing to public interest. 

Oliver died peacefully in his sleep and was found on June 2, 2012 with Raisin next to him. Stephen René Tello, executive director of Primarily Primates, stated that Oliver would be cremated and his ashes spread on the grounds of the Sanctuary."

The words  "age and years as a test subject left him blind" prove how much test facilities will lie to hide what they do. Kicked back, ate and slept my ass.


1.    ”Mutant” Chimp Gets Gene Check:Science 1996,274:727

2.    Chromosomal and mtDNA analysis of Oliver,Technical Report,American Journal of Physical Anthropology 105(3):395-403,1998. Ely,J. J.,Leland,M.,Martino,M.,Sweet,W. & Moore,C.M.

    There are many video clips and newspaper items available on Oliver and I would recommend Bigfoot Encounters at:
          And you can check out items on Oliver and other primate news at Primarily
      Primates at:

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