Ending decades of speculation that he represents some kind of missing link, genetic testing has shown that Oliver the chimp is just that-a chimp. Oliver, now a resident of the Primarily Primates sanctuary in Boerne, was put on display throughout the world in the 1970s, touted as a mysterious man-ape perhaps the missing link.
But it turns out the freak-show attraction is no freak, at least genetically. "He's not a human-chimp hybrid. His chromosome number is 48, which is a normal chimp karyotype," said Dr. David Ledbetter, a geneticist at the University of Chicago who analyzed Oliver's chromosomes. Human beings have 46 chromosomes. For years, rumor circulated that Oliver had 47 and represented a biological amalgam between man and ape.
Ledbetter re-examined the chromosome studies done two decades ago in Japan. "That data was fairly clear. So the report of 47 chromosomes was either a misinterpretation or a purposeful misrepresentation."