Koko The Gorilla Who Knew Sign Language And Made Friends With Cats Dies At 46
Koko, the beloved gorilla who was able to communicate in more than 1,000 signs, has died at 46 in California’s Santa Cruz mountains.
The Gorilla Foundation said the 46-year-old western lowland gorilla died in her sleep at the foundation’s preserve on Tuesday.
Koko was born at the San Francisco Zoo, and Dr Francine Patterson began teaching the gorilla sign language that became part of a Stanford University project in 1974.
According to Dr Patterson, Koko was able to understand more than 1,000 signs.
The foundation said Koko’s capacity for language and empathy opened the minds and hearts of millions.
“Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and an icon for interspecies communication,” the Gorilla Foundation said in a statement.
“She was beloved and will be deeply missed.”
Koko appeared in many documentaries and twice in National Geographic.
The magazine’s 1978 cover featured a photo that Koko had taken of herself in a mirror.
For her 44th birthday, the gorilla chose a grey kitten and a black-striped kitten Ms Grey and Ms Black to join her family, signing the words “cat” and “baby”.
The foundation said it would honour Koko’s legacy with a sign language application featuring Koko for the benefit of gorillas and children, as well as other projects.
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Koko The Famous Gorilla Who Learned Sign Language To Be Laid To Rest At Animal Sanctuary
Koko, the gorilla who mastered sign language, died at the age of 46.
The animal attraction of Koko
Koko, the gorilla who mastered sign language and became a pop-culture phenomenon, will be laid to rest Saturday in a ceremony at an animal sanctuary in Northern California where she lived for decades.
The western lowland gorilla died in her sleep Tuesday morning at the age of 46, according to the Gorilla Foundation, which is headed by animal psychologist Francine “Penny” Patterson, who worked with and cared for Koko since the primate was a year old.
Koko was renowned as one of the most intellectual apes in history, beloved by millions of people around the world. Under Patterson’s tutelage, she learned more than 1,000 words in sign language and came to understand over 2,000 words spoken to her in English.
“She taught me more than I taught her, for sure,” Patterson, 71, told ABC News in a telephone interview Thursday. “She had opportunities to show her brilliance and thats what we saw. We saw a person, really. She had all the attributes of a person and then some.”
Born at the San Francisco Zoo, Koko was loaned to Patterson at the age of 1 for a research project at Stanford University on interspecies communications. When the zoo wanted Koko back for breeding, Patterson raised more than $12,000 to officially adopt the super-simian.
Michael died in 2000 from cardiomyopathy, a disease that causes the heart to become enlarged.
“It’s really a celebration of life,” Patterson said.
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What Happens If A Human And An Animal Mate
If a human mates with another species it is very unlikely that there would be any offspring: the egg and sperm would most likely not join together. And even if they did the offspring would probably be infertile. Essentially, anatomically, the reproductive organs of the human and that of animal are not compatible.
Can Gorillas Sign Language
Asked by: Arnoldo Mertz
People often ask if gorillas are really using sign symbolically or are mimicking individual signs to get rewards. Our research shows that gorillas Koko and Michael have used American Sign Language in sophisticated ways, with sign phrase lengths of over 8 signs, and consistent grammatical structure.
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Gorillas Don’t Ape Each Other
Gorillas are born with an international sign language of gestures that they use to communicate.
The largest scientific study of the great apes revealed they had a repertoire of 102 different signals – more than any other mammal.
Many of these such as ‘disco arm shake’ and ‘tapping other’ were common in all the gorillas studied despite being in different continents.
The great apes can communicate with more than 100 hand gestures
The researchers from St Andrews University also found each gesture was carried out with close attention to their audience: silent signals were only given when other apes could see them.
Lead author Professor Byrne said: ‘As we added more populations to the study, most gestures that had seemed specific to one individual or one site almost always turned up elsewhere.
‘Any two populations are likely to differ a lot in the repertoire of gestures shown, but all are drawn from a very large, species-wide pool of possible gestural signals.’
The team concluded that the gestures do not need to be learnt, because they are already part of the natural gorilla communicative repertoire.
The new work throws light on a puzzle in the behaviour of great apes. Several studies have found that apes are capable of the ‘Do as I do’ routine that children also enjoy, but their copies of human actions modelled for them are relatively inexact.
‘It was only because of Tanners long-term data on the gorillas that we could find out what was going on.
Attempts To Mimic Human Speech And Communication
Great apes mimicking human speech is rare although some have attempted to do so, and Viki, a chimpanzee, is one of them. During the 1940s and 1950s, Keith and Catherine Hayes of the Yerkes Laboratories of Primate Biology began working with a chimpanzee named Viki in an attempt to get her to mimic human speech. After undergoing months of speech therapy, Viki became their success story. Viki learned to say the words: “mama”, “papa”, “cup” and “up”. Over the years she learned to say up to seven words. Viki was extremely intelligent and like many other non-human primates, would lead people to where she wanted to go as well as move the hands of people onto objects she wanted them to manipulate. However, she would rarely point to objects that she wanted, instead she would use signs to indicate what she wanted to do. For example, when she wanted to help with ironing she would move her hand back and forth above the ironing board. This experiment with Viki would inspire other researchers to conduct similar experiments.
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Criticisms Of Primate Language Research
Some scientists, including MITlinguistNoam Chomsky and cognitive scientistSteven Pinker, are skeptical about claims made for great ape language research. Among the reasons for skepticism are the differences in ease with which human beings and apes can learn language there are also questions of whether there is a clear beginning and end to the signed gestures and whether the apes actually understand language or are simply doing a clever trick for a reward.
While vocabulary words from American Sign Language are used to train the apes, native users of ASL may note that mere knowledge of ASL’s vocabulary does not equate to knowledge of ASL.
What Happened To All Ball Koko’s Kitten
All Ball was the name of the first of several kittens Koko raised into cat-hood. She chose the gray-and-white kitten from a litter for her birthday in 1984, according to a 1985 Los Angeles Times article. … All Ball died after being hit by a car. Cohn said she was devastated by the kitten’s death.
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Koko The Beloved Gorilla That Learned To Communicate Using Sign Language Has Died
Koko, a beloved gorilla who learned to communicate with humans and then stole their hearts, has died.
The Gorilla Foundation said the 46-year-old celebrity ape a western lowland gorilla died in her sleep earlier this week at the organizations preserve in Northern California. The Gorilla Foundation, a nonprofit that works to study and protect great apes, said in a statement that Koko will be most remembered as the primary ambassador for her endangered species.
The gorilla was born at the San Francisco Zoo on Independence Day in 1971, according to the Gorilla Foundation, and named Hanabi-ko, which means fireworks child in Japanese, though she was mainly known by her nickname, Koko.
It was in San Francisco where the newborn gorilla met a budding psychologist, Francine Penny Patterson. By the next year, Patterson had started teaching the animal an adapted version of American Sign Language, which she dubbed Gorilla Sign Language, or GSL. Video footage from that time shows Patterson playing games with the young gorilla and trying to teach her a new way to communicate.
Koko the gorilla has sadly died aged 46Here’s the story of her life
It grew into a decades-long relationship that revealed a deeper side of Koko and her apparent ability to understand and the enchanting animal gained widespread attention because of it.
Koko the gorilla, pictured here on the October 1978 cover of National Geographic, has died at 46.
National Geographic Magazine
Can Gorillas Invent New Signs
Koko and Michael did not always know the sign for a word they heard spoken, or for an object or activity they wanted. In such cases, the gorillas would often invent a sign for the word by compounding two or more signs for words they already knew. For example, Koko compounded the sign for SCRATCH with the sign for COMB to mean, brush . It wasnt always obvious at first what the gorillas were trying to say. For example, it took a while for the caregivers to realize that when Koko placed the sign for the letter s at her brow she was making up a sign for browse, a word the caregivers often use for greens and flowers they gather for the gorillas as a snack.
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The Gorilla That Knew Sign Language
Whether Koko used her 1,000 signs intelligently is difficult to say. The animal never used proper syntax, and her ability to make herself understood by others was comparable to that of a human child. At the same time, several video recordings show Koko in conversation with her caretakers, demonstrating familiarity with abstract concepts like the difference between real and fake, or the death of her pet kitten, which she had named All Ball.
These achievements have led director of the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute Mary Lee Jensvold to exclaim that Koko used language the same way people do. At the same time, Kokos use of language has been questioned by many experts. Graham Turner, a professor of translation and interpreting studies at Heriot Watt University, concluded that sign language is too complex for other great apes to truly master.
Although the apes can use two or three signs in a sequence, Turner told the BBC in an interview published on the occasion of Kokos death in 2018, close inspection of filmed data has repeatedly shown trainers prompting them, and then questionably interpreting separate responses as signed sentences. Turners view is compelling, especially when considering that Kokos primary caretakers often acted as gatekeepers to the scientific community.
Koko The Gorilla Who Mastered Sign Language Has Died
Koko, the gorilla who mastered sign language and showed the world what great apes can do, has died.
She died Tuesday in her sleep at age 46, The Gorilla Foundation said in a statement.
Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and an icon for interspecies communication and empathy, the release said. She was beloved and will be deeply missed.
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The Dance Of Plausible Deniability
“Everyone is giving good advice, but flirting didn’t click for me until i heard it described not as a set of behaviors to look out for, but as an escalation of suggestive behaviors couched in plausible deniability.
“Put practically, if someone is doing something to engage you that feels extra , then that might be flirting or it might not. That’s the whole point. Plausible deniability. They can safely disengage at any time.
“If you want to know if someone’s flirting, you need to test it. You do that by escalating things, but just a bit, so that now you have plausible deniability . If they escalate back and continue to do so as you escalate in turn, that is flirting. Eventually one of you will break cover and do something with clear intent . Otherwise, if you escalate and they don’t change their behavior or they back off, then they were probably just being friendly and you should take the hint and do the same.
“Dunno if that’s something obvious to people, but it was definitely not for me, and college parties would have been way less fun had i not known. Hopefully this can help someone else too :)” three_furballs
Early Life And Popularity
Koko was born on July 4, 1971, at the San Francisco Zoo to her biological mother Jacqueline and father Bwana. Koko was the 50th gorilla born in captivity and one of the first gorillas accepted by her mother in captivity. Koko remained with her mother until the age of one when Koko was taken to the zoo’s hospital to be treated for a life-threatening illness. Patterson along with Charles Pasternak originally cared for Koko at the San Francisco Zoo as part of their doctoral research at Stanford University after Koko came to the zoo’s hospital. Koko was loaned to Patterson and Pasternak under the condition that they would spend at least four years with her. Eventually, Koko remained with Patterson, supported by The Gorilla Foundation, which Patterson founded to support gorilla research and conservation.
In 1978, Koko gained worldwide attention as she was pictured on the cover of National Geographic magazine. The cover picture was an image of Koko taking her own picture in the mirror. Koko was later featured on the cover of National Geographic in 1985 with a picture of her and her kitten, All Ball. At the preserve, Koko also met and interacted with a variety of celebrities including Robin Williams, Fred Rogers, Betty White, William Shatner, Flea, Leonardo DiCaprio, Peter Gabriel, and Sting.
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Nearly 200 Nations Answered Koko’s Call At December’s Cop21 Meeting On Climate Change
196 nations adopted an agreement that set the ambitious goal of curbing the world’s rise in average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius. Since studies show we may already be halfway there, this agreement couldn’t have come at a better time.
Each country’s government still needs to seal the deal. But if they don’t, they’ll have to deal with millions of angry citizens, and one gorilla who’s had it up to here with their inaction.
What’s the sign for, “Finish the job or sleep with one eye open, world leaders?”
How Did Penny Teach Koko And Michael Asl
Initially, Penny decided to teach 1-year-old Koko a few basic signs: FOOD, DRINK and MORE, by using a combination of molding and modeling the signs in context, as demonstrated here:
Another approach used was to have the caregivers sign to each other as well as to the gorillas whenever possible to reinforce learning by repeated observation. Additionally, Penny would always speak the words as she signed them. This would create another channel of parallel communication that reinforced the learning of signs .
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Does Gorilla Sign Language Have Grammatical Structure
People often ask if gorillas are really using sign symbolically or are mimicking individual signs to get rewards. Our research shows that gorillas Koko and Michael have used American Sign Language in sophisticated ways, with sign phrase lengths of over 8 signs, and consistent grammatical structure. We have published some early papers on the subject and are now in the process of digitizing and analyzing four decades of data to shed more light on these linguistic questions. Our primary focus, however, is on cognitive questions such as: what can we learn about gorilla thought processes and emotions through two-way communication?
Gorilla Sign Language Acquisition
Koko learned sign language at a pace that paralleled language acquisition by human children. Her most rapid gains in new vocabulary occurred between years 2.5 and 4.5, as compared with human children who spike between 2 and 4 years. Koko learned over 200 new ASL signs in her 3rd year, and while her rate of learning tapered off she has continued to acquire new signs year after year, and her current vocabulary exceeds 1100 signs. Kokos younger male companion, Michael, learned over 600 signs at a similar pace, and the two gorillas had the additional benefit of being able to improve their skills by communicating with each other.
In the above 2 charts, the yellow bars and curve represent the number of signs emitted spontaineously and accurately at least once. The blue bars and curve represent signs that were emitted at least half the days of a month and observed by 2 independent researchers.
Note that Koko learned to emit and understand over 800 new signs from ages 1 through 11, and went on after that to exceed 1000 signs. Michael, Kokos original male gorilla companion, who was 2 year younger, learned sign language at a similar rate and developed a vocabulary of over 600 signs before his untimely death in the year 2000.
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Koko: Gorilla Death Coverage Rekindles Language Debate
Koko, the celebrated western lowland gorilla, died at the age of 46 this week. Many people paid tributes to her by praising her signing skills. She’s famous for her signing skills, but all is not what it seems.
Her death resonated with many people, with videos showing her communicating with her trainers being shared widely on social media.
In many obituaries, it was claimed that she “mastered” American Sign Language, using over 1,000 signs, but some experts said the headlines praising her sign language skills were rather inaccurate.
Koko the gorilla, who is said to have been able to communicate by using more than 1,000 hand signs, has died in California at the age of 46. Here she is on BBC News in 1985, with her kitten friend.
When she was about 12 months old, animal psychologist Francine “Penny” Patterson started to train her to use a version of American Sign Language. Her instructors said Koko used it to convey thoughts and feelings.
Ms Patterson and her researchers documented that the gorilla understood some 2,000 words of spoken English. The abilities of the gorilla apparently to understand spoken English were documented by Ms Patterson and her researchers.
However, sceptical linguists and scientists questioned Patterson’s methods. They also debated how much of Koko’s communication actually came from herself or how much we projected ourselves onto her.