Over 40 years ago, Penny Patterson set out on an impossible mission. The mission was to discover if a gorilla could ever communicate with human beings. Penny then met with the subject of her study. Her name was Koko, a young gorilla who was eager to learn.
Penny began teaching Koko sign language. In the early stages of the study, Koko was picking up one new sign every month. Soon, Koko was able to combine different signs together to ask for things. Penny quickly realized that Koko was something special and what started as a project, quickly became a friendship.
Koko's sign language vocabulary was soon over 300 words. Koko seemed to be a breakthrough in modern science, not to mention Penny seemed to have adopted Koko as a sort of daughter. It was this close relationship, however, that made some people question whether or not Koko's new language skills were legitimate.
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