Joined: 20 Mar 2005
|Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 8:11 am Post subject: Talk to the animals!
|Koko is a gorilla who learned American Sign Language and
taught her human family about gorillas and their feelings.
Koko learned to sign hundreds of words!
When she first signed the word for ‘food’ to Francine Patterson, the woman who took
care of her, and Francine gave her food, Koko was so happy that she put a bucket over her head and ran around wildly.
Koko could easily learn the words for things she liked but was not as eager to learn words for things she didn’t. It took her two months to learn the word for ‘egg’, which she hated, and only one minute to learn ‘berry’, which she loved.
Koko has a great sense of humour. When asked the color of her white towel over and over until she was very bored, she signed, ‘Red.’ When asked twice again, she replied, ‘Red,’ then carefully picked a tiny speck of red lint off her towel. She laughed and
again said, “Red.”
Koko recognises herself in the mirror, carefully cleans her room and plays with her companion animals. She was so sad when her cat died that she was allowed to choose another kitten. She took care of her kitten companion with gentleness and love.
Koko also told people what and whom she didn’t like. When she was really angry with someone, she would call the person a ‘rotten toilet’. She had a younger gorilla friend named Mike, whom she would call ‘Mike nut’ when she felt jealous. One of her
teachers, Ron Cohn, punished her when she misbehaved. She called him ‘stupid devil devilhead’.
Eventually Francine Patterson realised that gorillas like Koko and Mike should live where they can be their natural gorilla selves. They all moved out to the country where Koko and Mike could climb fruit trees and play in a huge outside area.
Koko signed her thoughts about herself and her species when she said, ‘Fine animal gorilla’.