The world was heart broken to learn about the death of KoKo that occurred on June 19th. KoKo was more than just a gorilla to this world hence we talk about the achievements and what the study meant.
Francine Patterson is a Stanford University graduate student that earned her PhD for her dissertation ‘Linguistic Capabilities of a Lowland Gorilla’, for her dissertation she came to contact with an infant gorilla a year after it was born and started teaching it ASL or in terms of gorilla GSL. Patterson developed a deep connection with this gorilla named KoKo who resided in the famous San Francisco Zoo.
Koko was taught sign language to converse in a humanlike way and won fans all around the world. Though Patterson did her work during the time many scientists pursued teaching chimps sign language, Patterson received scientific criticism for her work though she aimed to study the linguistic capabilities of gorillas much different from her colleagues work.
After four years Patterson, late Barbara Hiller and Dr.Ronald Cohn established the Gorilla foundation and later expanded to include a 200 + 600 ft space for their recreational purposes with the Rolex Award for Enterprise. While they set up the place they adopted an orphan Michael an orphan from Cameroon who they hoped to be a partner to KoKo this expanding their family and teaching Michael sign language too.
Koko the gorilla uses sign language to tells graduate student Penny Patterson she wants to listen to the phone, Feb.27, 1975.
This is the greatest thing that could happen,and it’s a day I can never forget” Flea from Red Hot Chilli Peppers said after KoKo plucked his bass and jammed with him.
Koko always raised kittens she was very fond of them, she asked for a kitty on her birthday.
KoKo was depressed because her lifetime partner Michael had passed away and shortly after that she met Robin Williams who spent time with her and it was after a very long time that she smiled and actually played. She never forgot that bond with Robin Williams and was deeply saddened by his death. Patterson said she showed the sign for tears coming down her face.
“Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and an icon for inter species communication and empathy. She was beloved and will be deeply missed,” the Gorilla Foundation said in a statement.