Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy Birthday Koko

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Koko is a lowland gorilla who was born in San Francisco on this day in 1971; according to her trainers, Koko (a diminutive form of Hanabi-Ko, or 'fireworks child' in Japanese, seeing as she was born on a day renowned for its pyrotechnic displays) can understand more than 1,000 signs in American Sign Language and understand 2,000 words of English besides.

As early as 1977 Koko was attracting attention for her ability to communicate using sign language. She has also created art using both brush and camera, kept pets (such as cats), and has a pronounced fetish for nipples (whether male or female).

There is a debate among scholars whether Koko's intellect is spontaneous or merely as a result of acculturation; either way, as long as she keeps everybody guessing, the Pop Culture Institute will continue to hail our talented cousin.  Heck, if she can learn to write down any of those 2000 words she can even have a job here - despite being totally over-qualified!
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