Koko the Gorilla goes to the Dentist

I’m sure most of you are now aware that Koko the Gorilla, who can communicate using sign language, recently had a tooth pulled. Using a doll and a pain scale, Koko was able to signal that her mouth was in a lot of pain. Her handlers took the time to give her a full medical examination.

What you are probably not aware of is that a poster on Internet Infidels Discussion Board, Biff the Unclean, works with Koko and her companions. This recent news has encouraged him to share some Koko stories. You can find earlier threads with Koko stories by searching the board.

Apparantly Koko will tell jokes.

When asked how she had slept after her tooth was pulled she answered…”on floor with blanket” followed by a loud, Herman Munster-like, laughter.

Weeks before our male had thrown something awful at a volunteer. When he finally became friends with him a care giver asked Ndume what name should we call the volunteer? Should we call him “workman”? Koko butted in and laughing said “vomit catch man.”

And there is the ever popular “big gorilla sit want” which started life as the 500 lb gorilla joke and has lost most of its substance but none of its hilarity.

And some very interesting information about Gorilla Sign Language.

She speaks what we call GSL which is slightly different from ASL, mainly because of gorilla anatomy and custom. Holding your arms out from your body is a rude gesture to a gorilla, a threat sign. Much like “giving the finger.” Any signs that require that have been modified. Also gorillas have thumbs on their feet, so if she wants to say ‘tickle my feet’ she will sign tickle with her foot. She will also combine signs to say two things at once. Something you probably wouldn’t put up with from a deaf person, but every ASL speaker, so far, has found it fascinating.

And, wouldn’t you know it, idiots, i.e. creationists, have come out of the woodwork.

There have been phone calls this week that weren’t from well wishers. One young fellow said “You teach gorillas instead of people, you should die.”

Four Fundies called seperately to tell us that we were liars. Talking gorillas cannot happen, God was against it. And a radio station in San Antonio Texas did a live interview with one of our people. The interviewer stopped her in the middle of telling about Koko’s abilities to tell her that they, the interviewer, and the audience were all Christians and did not want to hear any evolution stuff. She had no idea of how to respond this comment out of left field, and hours later was going on about what she “should have said.”

And on a final note, I once got Biff to ask Koko if humans were apes, and she responded that humans were not apes because they weren’t pretty enough. A much better argumnet than anything creationists have every come up with.

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Posted by sbstory on August 15, 2004 8:42 AM

Humans aren’t pretty enough? heh heh. Reminds me of that bumper sticker, “Apes evolved from creationists”

Posted by tim gueguen on August 16, 2004 12:43 AM

I’d love to know how these folks know God is opposed to talking gorillas. What book of the Bible talks about teaching animals sign language? Then again these are the kind of people who believe everyone spoke the same language until God got p.o.’ed at some Babylonians because they built a tower too high.