"Why humans may have more in common with chimps than we thought" PBS NewsHour 4/25/2019
SUMMARY: What can humans learn about ourselves from studying chimpanzees? Primatologist Frans de Waal has spent almost three decades studying the behavior and intelligence of chimpanzees. Now, he’s focused on their emotional lives--and he’s found primates and people aren’t so different in how they react to circumstances and each other. Jeffrey Brown talks to de Waal about the implications of his findings.
"Koko, gorilla who communicated with sign language and raised kittens, dies at 46" PBS NewsHour 6/21/2018
SUMMARY: Koko the gorilla who mastered sign language, Raised Kittens and once playfully tried on the glasses of the late actor Robin Williams, has died. She was 46.
The Gorilla Foundation says the western lowland gorilla died in her sleep at the foundation’s preserve in California’s Santa Cruz mountains on Tuesday.
Koko’s capacity for language and Empathy Opened the minds and hearts of millions of people.
Koko’s capacity for language and empathy opened the minds and hearts of millions of people, the foundation said. She appeared in many documentaries and twice in National Geographic. The gorilla’s 1978 cover featured a photo that the animal had taken of herself in a mirror.
Williams, another San Francisco Bay area legend, met Koko in 2001 and called it a “mind-altering experience.” The two hold hands and tickle each other in a widely shared video.
“We shared something extraordinary: laughter,” he says. “Koko understands spoken English and uses over 1,000 signs to share her feelings and thoughts about daily events. Life, love, even death.”
“It was awesome and unforgettable,” said the actor, who killed himself in August 2014.
Fans mourned Koko’s passing, and the foundation’s website experienced excessive traffic on Thursday.
“Legit bawling like a baby right now,” posted a person on the foundation’s Facebook page. “From an early age I was fascinated with Koko and she taught me so much about love, kindness, respect for animals, and our planet.”
Another person posted: “At least Koko can finally be reunited with All Ball.”
“All Ball” was the name of the first of several kittens Koko raised into cat-hood. She chose the gray-and-white kitten from a litter for her birthday in 1984, according to a 1985 Los Angeles Times article.
“The cat was a Manx and looked like a ball. Koko likes to rhyme words in sign language,” said Ron Cohn, a biologist with the foundation.