Do you know about Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution? If so, you know that he firmly believed that humans diverged from apes millions of years ago. Over time, many people have tried to argue against that idea, explaining that monkeys were too different from us to be our ancestors. However, a few decades ago, a female gorilla named Koko proved them wrong when she learned American Sign Language to communicate and demonstrated to the world that she was no beast. Let’s get to know her heart-warming story!
A life in captivity
When Stanford graduate Penny Patterson first saw Hanabi-Ko, a tiny baby gorilla at the San Francisco Zoo, she didn’t imagine that the creature would become her lifelong companion and the subject of the longest experiment to teach language to another species.
Koko was born on July 4th, 1971, and had a difficult life as an infant; she became seriously ill at a young age and had to be hand-reared by a caregiver for a year until her gorilla mother rejected her.