The Rumors Of A "Humanzee" Created In A 1920s Florida Lab

According to the story, a human-chimp baby was born alive.

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

James is a published author with four pop-history and science books to his name. He specializes in history, strange science, and anything out of the ordinary.

Senior Staff Writer

Oliver the chimp, once suspected of being a humanzee.

Oliver the chimpanzee, once touted as a human-ape hybrid, though he was not. 

Image credit: Unknown origin via Wikimedia Commons. Fair use, illustrative.

Ever since we parted evolutionary ways, people have dreamed of one day creating a human-chimp hybrid known as the "humanzee". And by people, we mean weirdos, but nevertheless, there have been a few attempts.

Russian biologist lya Ivanovich tried in the worst way possible, and failed due to a mix of moral repulsion and a lack of ape semen. But, according to (mainly dubious) reports over the years, "chuman" embryos have been created or even brought to term. 


In perhaps the most suspicious story of all, a hybrid human-chimp was rumored to have been born in the US, before being euthanized when the scientists involved realized the full implications of what they'd done.

Evolutionary psychologist Gordon Gallup made these extraordinary claims in 2018, telling British tabloid newspaper The Sun that the hybrid was born at a primate research center in Orange Park, Florida, in the 1920s.

“They inseminated a female chimpanzee with human semen from an undisclosed donor and claimed not only that pregnancy occurred but the pregnancy went full term and resulted in a live birth," Gallup told the paper. 

At this point, the scientists of the story supposedly started to think things through, presumably while holding the exceptionally hairy baby. "In the matter of days, or a few weeks, they began to consider the moral and ethical considerations and the infant was euthanised."


Gallup, himself a respected psychologist and creator of the mirror test, said that he was told the story was true by a "credible scientist" in their own right.

Oliver, a chimpanzee people believed to be a hybrid until DNA testing proved otherwise.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and of course, saying "someone else told me it was true" without naming them or even explicitly saying they were involved in the experiment, does not constitute extraordinary proof.

It's unclear whether a hybrid between a human and a chimpanzee is even possible. It has been suggested that human ancestors and chimpanzees were capable of interbreeding as late as 4 million years ago (our last common ancestor lived 6-7 million years ago). However this is contested, and the apparently short divergence time in the X chromosome between chimps and humans (which led the team to suspect hybridization had taken place) could be explained through natural selection.


Other animals with similar genetic differences to that of chimps and humans – such as horses and zebras – have been able to reproduce successfully, though the offspring are often infertile themselves

Say we are genetically similar enough to produce an embryo, it is unlikely that it would carry to term. But, more importantly, why would we want to try anyway?


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