Amazing Facts About Koko, The Celebrity Gorilla Who Knew Sign Language

Koko was a famous gorilla who made a huge impact on the way researchers understand her species. Her intelligence exceeded their expectations as she was able to sign thousands of words, paint, play an instrument, express empathy, and more. Read on to learn more about what made Koko a truly remarkable animal.

She Was Able To Express Empathy

Being able to feel for another individual is a very complex emotional skill that not all mammals seem to possess. One of the amazing things about Koko was her ability to express empathy.

Barney Peterson/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images
Barney Peterson/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

There is a heartwrenching scene in the movie Tea with Mussolini where a boy leaves his family. When watching it, Koko’s eyes would water and she would sign the words “sad,” “cry,” “trouble,” and “mother,” showing that she could feel for others.