On this U.S. Independance day some also celebrate the birthday of an amaIng creature, friend, and loved one, Koko the gorilla that communicated in sign language.
Koko started understanding and responding in sign language at the early age of two years old with her guardian Dr. Patterson. Though there are critics, the vast majority of experts in this field agree that real communication at levels well above that of most five year olds was well in Kokos wheelhouse.
Sign language is not the only unusual thing about Koko. She is also been a pet-owner. In 1983, at the age of 12, researchers said that Koko asked for a cat for Christmas. They gave Koko a stuffed cat. Koko was not happy. She did not play with it, and she continued to sign sad. So for her birthday in 1984, they let her pick a cat out of an abandoned liter. Koko picked a gray cat and named him "All Ball." Dr. Patterson said that Koko loved and nurtured All Ball as though he were a baby gorilla. Sadly, All Ball got out of Kokos cage and was hit by a car. Patterson reported that Koko signed "Bad, sad, bad" and "Frown, cry, frown, sad" when she broke the news to her.
I am so sorry that Koko had to endure the horrors of humanity and celebrate her life in memory.