Small quantities of unusual hemoglobins were found in 1 of 37 chimpanzees and 2 of 6 gorillas. In each genus these hemoglobins contain unique alpha chains that differ from the ordinary by eight to nine scattered amino acid changes. The unusual chains arise from a hitherto undetected hemoglobin (3)alpha locus. No (3)alpha products are found in most apes; accordingly, (3)alpha is considered synthetically inactive in all but a few reversion mutants. Indirect evidence that the inactive (3)alpha locus is juxtaposed to an active alpha locus together with the supposition that (3)alpha exists in man provides a setting wherein thalassemia might be produced by nonhomologous recombination between two loci.