Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Reminder: Robin Williams made a depressed gorilla laugh

AUGUST 17, 2015

by Susanna Pilny

The anniversary of Robin Williams’ death was less than a week ago, so we here at redOrbit wanted to share a story that highlights just how special he was: The story of how he helped Koko the sign language gorilla.

For those of you who don’t know, Koko was raised by humans in an attempt to see if she could be taught sign language. Beginning in 1972, the experiment was supposed to last around four years—but it still ongoing today.

In those 43 years, Koko has astounded the scientific community. She has learned over 1000 sign language words and can understand 2000 spoken English words. She not only knows words, but can use them flexibly—meaning that you can have full (albeit somewhat limited) conversations with her. Like in this video:

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