Koko the Gorilla Is Gone, But She Left a Legacy
Published:22 Jun.2018    Source:Science News

 When Koko died in her sleep in California on June 19, people throughout the world immediately began mourning the gorilla.

 

Koko was a charmer and undeniably smart. She took an unusual route to fame. Stanford University graduate student Francine Patterson started teaching Koko a version of sign language in 1972, the year after the infant ape was born. Patterson rapidly developed a deep emotional connection to Koko.

 

Patterson’s claims that Koko learned to communicate and converse with sign language in a humanlike way won the gorilla legions of fans but also attracted much scientific criticism. Patterson’s work with Koko came at a time when captive chimps were also receiving sign language training.