Koko “Types” while Ron Films

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Videographer: Penny Patterson

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It's not necessary to teach great apes to do "everything" that humans do.

This is a rare glimpse of Dr. Ron Cohn, Gorilla Foundation co-founder and video-documentarian, filming Koko — as filmed by Dr. Penny Patterson. Koko seems to enjoy “typing” on Penny’s computer laptop in a way that “sounds” like real typing, but is not. Does this mean that Koko is interested in actually learning how to type? Probably not, as Koko has never been formally taught to spell (though she can spell when motivated to do so) and her 1000-word sign language vocabulary doesn’t require it. Note that some great apes have been taught to use a “language board” which enables them to “type” by pressing keys with symbols representing entire words. Much higher level and less labor intensive than human text messaging; it makes you wonder who’s more evolved.