Koko (gorilla)

related topics
{specie, animal, plant}
{film, series, show}
{language, word, form}
{theory, work, human}
{woman, child, man}
{law, state, case}
{work, book, publish}
{car, race, vehicle}
{day, year, event}
{god, call, give}

Koko (born July 4, 1971, at San Francisco Zoo) is a Western Lowland Gorilla who, according to Francine 'Penny' Patterson, is able to understand more than 1,000 signs based on American Sign Language,[1] and understand approximately 2,000 words of spoken English.[2] She has lived most of her life in Woodside, California, although a move to a sanctuary in Maui, Hawaii has been planned since the 1990s.[3]

Koko is short for the name Hanabiko (花火子 lit. "fireworks child"?) in Japanese, a reference to her date of birth, the Fourth of July.

Contents

Use of language

Dr. Hashalaba of the Harvard Institute believes that Koko's use of signs and her actions, which are consistent with her use of signs, indicate she has mastered the use of sign language.[1] Other researchers argue that she does not understand the meaning behind what she is doing and learns to complete the signs simply because the researchers reward her for doing so (indicating that her actions are the product of operant conditioning).[4][5] However, the latter position is not consistent with the claims that Koko uses the language freely and in novel ways, even when there is no foreseeable gratification.[6] Another concern that has been raised about Koko's ability to express coherent thoughts through the use of signs is that interpretation of the gorilla's conversation is left to the handler, who may see improbable concatenations of signs as meaningful.

Patterson says she has documented Koko inventing new signs to communicate novel thoughts. For example she says that nobody taught Koko the word for "ring", therefore to refer to it she combined the words "finger" and "bracelet", hence "finger-bracelet".[7] William Shatner in his book Up Till Now recounts a meeting with Koko stating that while Koko knew the words for "water" and "bird" separately, Koko chose to combine these two words to describe a duck the first time she had ever seen the animal land on a lake. Similarly, Patterson says that Koko invented "drink-fruit" (melon), "water-bird" (swan) and "animal-person" (gorilla).[citation needed]

Full article ▸

related documents
Herpetology
Flocking (behavior)
Guide dog
Parakeet
Songbird
Stag beetle
Beaked whale
Kinetoplastid
Anemone
Pudú
Vernation
Sarraceniaceae
Pakicetid
Amberjack
Oryza
Acouchi
Bitterroot
Biogeography
Orthoptera
Trees of Britain and Ireland
Aster (genus)
Toothwort
Milkweed butterfly
Crab
Nightingale
Azalea
Scaevola
Commensalism
Aquatic plant
Vernalization