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Am J Phys Anthropol. 1998 Mar;105(3):395-403.

Technical note: chromosomal and mtDNA analysis of Oliver.

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Trinity University, Department of Biology, San Antonio, Texas 78212-7200, USA.


Oliver is an African ape whose species identity has been debated in the popular media and by various scientists since the early 1970s. Although decisive morphological data has never been adduced on Oliver, many reports indicated that Oliver was morphologically unusual for a chimpanzee, particularly in his habitual bipedal posture. In addition, his diploid chromosome number was reported to be inconsistent with either human or chimpanzee, but instead intermediate between those species. We performed standard chromosomal studies which demonstrated that Oliver had the diploid number expected for a chimpanzee (2N = 48) and that the banding patterns of his chromosomes were typical for a chimpanzee and different from both humans and bonobos. We also sequenced a 312 bp region of his mitochondrial DNA D-loop region. Results indicated a high sequence homology to the Central African variety of chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes troglodytes. The highest percent homology was observed with a previously characterized specimen from Gabon, strongly suggesting that Oliver originated from this region.

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