Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Koko, the gorilla who mastered sign language, has died
She was a female western lowland gorilla born and grown in California. She was named Hanabiko, meaning fireworks child in Japanese, because she was born on the fourth of July. She understood 1,000 English words and communicated with 2,000 Gorilla Sign Language, a modified version of American Sign Language (ASL).
Koko demonstrated not only her intelligence to humans but also maternity to her pets. In fact, she adopted five kittens in her life. She named them All Ball, Lipstick, Smoky, Miss Black and Miss Grey respectively and cared for them as if they were baby gorillas. When she was signed that the first adopted cat was killed in a car accident, she signed "Bad, sad, bad" and "Frown, cry, frown, sad".
Indeed, Koko showed cognitive abilities and emotional capacity of the gorilla. She passed away unexpectedly but peacefully in her sleep about two weeks before her 47th birthday.
Enjoy reading and learn what a gorilla can do.