The Penny Gorilla

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Koko was a Gorilla that was trained sign language at an early age by her primary caregiver Penny. Penny performed an experiment, testing to see if primates like gorillas can communicate in sign language with humans. The reason Koko was so special because she is the longest animal study in history. It infatuated the public when Koko was first in the public eye on the cover of National geographic holding kittens. Koko changed how people viewed animals, and got people to their emotions.
Before this film I had never heard of Koko. It was interesting how a gorilla could comprehend what a human was signing and responded to it. Scientists debate whether Koko comprehends what Penny is signing or if it’s just mimicking. I believe that Koko does understand humans because she puts together phrases and conveys her feelings through sign language. Koko makes her own phases and doesn’t just repeat Pennys sentences. Once Koko explained to Penny that she didn’t want to mate with Michael because he was like a brother to her because they grew up together when Penny asked why she wasn’t mating with Michael. Like humans, gorillas refuse to inbreed, so Penny was forced to find a new mate for Koko. Koko explains how she feels and communicates with Penny and her
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Throughout the film you could see the personification of Koko. Koko will never be a human, so she shouldn’t have a life like one. Given her circumstances of her mother rejecting her she was a good candidate to be worked with for this project. However, Penny became attached to Koko and she treated Koko like she was her own child. I think that helped Koko develop because she did not have a mother, but she wasn’t raised in an environment with gorillas so she will never assimilate to gorilla culture. Ultimately Koko’s wish of having a child could not be fulfilled because she was too far apart from gorilla

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