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A conversation with Koko was a film about a gorilla named Koko that could do things

way beyond our beliefs. Koko was raised at birth by an anthropologist that wanted to see if they

could teach an ape a form of language. Koko was trained to use American Sign Language (ASL)

to communicate with her owner and others. Koko picked up on sign language quickly and has

learned a lot of words and can effectively communicate with humans. The scientists were so

surprised by this and they found out exactly how intelligent Koko was. The scientists determined

that they should find a mate for Koko and had a gorilla named Michael transferred and placed

with Koko. Michael was a lot younger than Koko, but they now lived together. Like Koko,

Michael was taught ASL and picked up on it very quickly. The scientists would have never

imagined that two gorillas could have learned this form of communication. A few years went by

and Koko wanted to have a baby. Unfortunately Koko viewed Michael as a sibling opposed to a

mate. The scientists asked Koko to help them play matchmaker and find Koko a new mate. Koko

selected a new Gorilla to come live with her. Koko liked the new gorilla but for some reason she

would not mate with him and to this day Koko does not have a gorilla. However, Koko learned

to love different kinds of animals. Koko had a love for cats ever since her owner read her books

with cats. The scientists agreed to get Koko a cat named All Ball. Koko loved All Ball and

expressed love and gentleness with the cat. Unfortunately All Ball died from an accident. Koko

once showed something remarkable. Koko expressed how sad she was to the scientists. To try

and help Koko get over the grief the scientists had her pick a new cat. Koko found a new

playmate named Smokey and loved to play with her. Michael and Koko are some remarkable

gorillas. They are able to communicate, paint, and show emotions in a way that was never

thought possible. After the film was made Michael died from a disease that affects a lot of
gorillas. Unfortunately Koko still has not had a baby, but regardless Koko and Michael are

extraordinary animals.

Koko has a remarkable impact on paleoanthropology. Anthropologists had never thought

that primates like Koko could be so advanced. There is a misconception and a somewhat

egotistical idea that humans are the only real intelligent life on the planet. However, Koko

showed that primates are capable of remarkable things. Gorillas do not have the same kind of

vocal cords or capability of speaking like humans. However, Koko showed that a gorilla could

learn something as complex as ASL. This is remarkable and shows that primates may have been

misunderstood and that they are capable of a lot of things that we did not think possible. The fact

that Koko could learn ASL also reassures paleoanthropologists that our closest relatives are even

more closely related to us than we originally thought.

One extraordinary event that took place in the film would be where Michael described to

the scientists exactly what happened to his family. The fact that Michael could tell the

anthropologists something that occurred years ago is amazing. Michael seems to be deeply

affected by the event which shows us how much emotion and sensitivity these animals can show.

Species like Homo Habilis and Australopithecus may have been even more advanced than

paleoanthropologists originally thought. If an animal like Koko can show these unbelievable

forms of intelligence then it makes us wonder how smart early hominins actually were. Koko has

completely changed how Paleoanthropologists view linguistics among different species. Koko

shows us that there might be a chance at being able to further communicate with animals by

teaching them things. Originally humans were the only species to understand linguistics.

However, Koko and Michael show us that primates are capable of the same thing and we may be

able to learn even more in the future if we continue to study this subject in anthropology.