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Re: Orangachimps??? (off-topic)



This is getting rather of-topic, but....

--- zone65@bigpond.com wrote:
> Now this has nothing to do with the former statement, but does anyone 
> know if different species of apes can or have interbred?

Part of that depends on how you divide the species. Some genetic studies have
suggested that both _Gorilla_ and _Pongo_ can be divided into two extant
species.

_Pongo pygmaeus_ and _Pongo abelii_ (or _P. p. abelii_, depending on who you
follow) can interbreed. The big male orangutan here at the L.A. Zoo is such a
hybrid (and I'm told he was neutered because of that very fact; I guess they
want to keep the strains pure).

I haven't heard of any other examples. An "orangachimp" would be about as
unlikely a combo as you could pick among great apes. Chimps are far closer to
gorillas (and even closer to us!) than they are to orangutans. A chimp/bonobo
hybrid or a hybrid between eastern and western gorillas would be far more
likely. (I think even a chimp/human hybrid would be more likely than an
"orangachimp"!)

There's supposedly a new "mystery ape" in Africa that might be a large variant
of chimpanzee, but it's also been suggested that it might be a gorilla/chimp
hybrid race. I haven't heard anything lately on that, though.

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