Oliver Has Died

Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 4th, 2012

Oliver, the chimpanzee who spent much of his life as part of circus shows or in research labs, was found dead Saturday, June 2, 2012, in his bedroom at Primarily Primates, the sanctuary where he spent his last 14 years.

He was at least 55 years old, while the average lifespan for a male chimp in captivity is 35.

Oliver’s girlfriend, Raisin, was by his side when caretakers found him, said Stephen Rene Tello, executive director of the sanctuary.

He came to Primarily Primates from a research lab in Pennsylvania in 1998. Tello said the lab didn’t perform any studies on him during his decade there because the staff could tell he was special: “He was just on a different level; he had very humanlike traits.”More at the source.

Oliver was not a Sasquatch, but you might not have known that in the 1970s. Articles about Oliver being a Bigfoot were written in all seriousness.

But Oliver was a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes).

Unfortunately, despite his history being easily obtainable, I would often get inquiries about Oliver really being a Bigfoot.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

8 Responses to “Oliver Has Died”

  1. Robert Moore via Facebook responds:

    A remarkable animal – It sounds like he was treated well for at least the last decade of his life.

  2. Chad Cearley via Facebook responds:

    This truly sad.

  3. red_pill_junkie responds:

    He didn’t die alone, so there’s that.

    Rest in peace.

  4. flame821 responds:

    Very said to hear of his passing, and his tragic life, but as the others said, at least the last decade or so was lived in peace and comfort.

    I still remember him being tested to see if he was half human, crazy tales of how many chromosomes he did or did not have. Horrible stories of how a human/chimp hybrid came to be.

    The silver lining in his roller coaster of a life seems to be the fact that he brought a lot of attention to chimpanzees in general, showing how human-like they actually are. The plight of research animals and how important it is to treat others (same species or not) humanely and with dignity.

  5. Fausta responds:

    You were awesome Oliver!

  6. norman-uk responds:

    It is sad Oliver’s life has come to an end but good that he was in relative comfort with human and animal companionship. Primarily Primates are to be admired for the care and attention thay gave him. Though there was much about his earlier life that was deplorable I expect this became a distant memory to him.

    I will stick my neck out here and say that I think Oliver was certainly not as described in wikepedia a ‘common chimpanzee’ but quite likely the last of one of the relic hominids from Africa as described by such as sanderson and heuvelmens and being so remarkable. Again sticking my neck out I do not believe the DNA tests gave the right answer about what Oliver was nor other tests, possibly because scientists were dealing with the suggestion that Oliver was a humanzee which somehow seems an unpalatable idea plus official scientic scepticism in hominid discoveries.

    My feeling is that Oliver case should be looked at again and the DNA etc should fit what is known about Oliver rather than the other way. This seems to me a hugh miss for crptozoology, late but not too late to make something of it !

    I have sent an E mail to primarily primates to ask beg them to retain biological samples hoping the have some even if Oliver body has already been cremated. The whole body would be better of course but people mourning for him mind find this difficult even insensitive.

  7. norman-uk responds:

    Herewith a copy of my e-mail to primarily primates dated 7 june 2012

    Dear friends of primates, I am very sorry to read of the death of Oliver, I think he must have had a content old age! Its commendable the work you have done, of love, to give him that. I think he was a remarkable person and did not fit the description in wikepedia of just a ‘common chimpanzee’. I have watched the unfolding of DNA technology for many years and realise it has frequently fallen short of what is claimed, particularly with primates. Over many past years people reported seeing primates like Oliver in the wild customarily bi-pedal and near to humans in behavour. These are documented in reputable books such as by sanderson and heuvelmens. So much about Oliver suggests he was different to chimpanzees and possibly connected with the early African reports but for some reason this was talked down, maybe because of the red herring that he was a humanzee which idea many, including myself find difficult. In addition within scientific circles in these type of issues scepticism rules!
    What i am getting round to is that I ask you, indeed beg you to retain biological samples of Oliver, probably the last of his kind, so that as DNA technology advances more plausible and reliable DNA tests and others may be done with the almost certainty of enlightenment about Oliver and primates in general. There is a lot more that could be said about this subject but unfortunately it is late and maybe too late. Though I would ask you to consider what biological material you may have which could be of benefit.

  8. norman-uk responds:

    Oliver was cremated late on the 7 june. The facebook reply stated ‘carers would not further expose Oliver’s body to research testing’. I understand their sentiments and share their evident determination that they should continue to give Oliver respect in death as in life. I tried to send another e mail via face book but was unsuccessful.

    I do believe Oliver was something very different from ‘common chimpanzees’ and further testing could validate Oliver in his life and in his death and maybe if another Oliver comes along enable proper treatment. There is possibly biological material from Oliver around the globe and this gives opportunity for further testing to find the explanation for Oliver’s special qualities and crack that particular mystery!

    As I see it there is presently some clamour for a bigfoot ‘body’ and allegedly science cannot proceed without one but a (living) body of something similar ie Oliver was in hand and still science could not proceed. Ironic! Prior to this of course virtually all putative bigfoot samples for DNA analysis were said to be either without any DNA, contaminated or degraded.

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