Blood Groups of Pygmy and Common Chimpanzees

A Comparative Study
  • Wladyslaw W. Socha
Part of the The Pygmy Chimpanzee book series (EBIO)


The discovery of the blood groups of man (Landsteiner, 1901) and, particularly, confirmation of their hereditary nature (Bernstein, 1925) added a new dimension to taxonomic studies. The importance of blood groups for systematics was demonstrated quite early by Hirszfeld and Hirszfeld (1919), who carried out analyses of blood group frequencies among human races. The first comparative study of hominoid (ape and human) red cell antigens was undertaken by Landsteiner and Miller (1925). Thirty-five years later the first attempts were made to compare blood groups among various chimpanzee species, including the pygmy chimpanzee (André et al., 1961). Although at present impressive numbers of specificities have been identified on the red cells of common chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), and hundreds of animals of this species have been tested for their blood groups, the testing of blood groups in pygmy chimpanzees has been infrequent, due to the relatively few specimens in captivity. Testing done thus far on the blood groups of Pan paniscus has revealed interesting differences between pygmy and common chimpanzees and shed light on discussions of the phylogenetic position of Pan paniscus. The purpose of this chapter is to highlight the results of our ongoing research on blood group serology of the pygmy and common chimpanzees.


Blood Group Blood Group System Pygmy Chimpanzee Human Blood Group Common Chimpanzee 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wladyslaw W. Socha
    • 1
  1. 1.Primate Blood Group Reference Laboratory and WHO Collaborating Centre for Haematology of Primate Animals, Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP)New York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA

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