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Khephra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-08-04 09:55 PM
Original message
Koko the Gorilla Calls for the Dentist
WOODSIDE, Calif. -- When Koko the gorilla used the American Sign Language gesture for pain and pointed to her mouth, 12 specialists, including three dentists, sprang into action. The result? Her first full medical examination in about 20 years, an extracted tooth and a clean bill of health.

About a month ago, Koko, a 300-plus-pound ape who became famous for mastering more than 1,000 signs, began telling her handlers at the Gorilla Foundation in Woodside she was in pain. They quickly constructed a pain chart, offering Koko a scale from one to 10.

When Koko started pointing to nine or 10 too often, a dental appointment was made. And because anesthesia would be involved, her handlers used the opportunity to give Koko a head-to-toe exam.

"She's quite articulate," volunteer Johnpaul Slater said. "She'll tell us how bad she's feeling, how bad the pain is. It looked like it was time to do something."

http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sns...
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Mara Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-08-04 09:57 PM
Response to Original message
1. Fucking amazing!!

Koko :loveya: :yourock:
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CO Liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-08-04 09:58 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yep - She's More Articulate Than Pretzelboy!!!
:-)
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buycitgo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-08-04 10:15 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. hahahaha
I thought this was new stuff about dumbo's Alabama cavities (in his record)
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Ladyhawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-08-04 10:09 PM
Response to Original message
3. She's an amazing creature.
I like gorillas better than chimpanzees because chimpanzees are too human. :) Gorillas (and orangutans) are much more gentle.
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Ladyhawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-08-04 10:11 PM
Response to Original message
4. Interested in Animal Intelligence?
Check this out: http://www.alexfoundation.org /

I spoke to Irene Pepperberg and got her input for one of my college term papers. That was many years ago and Alex the African grey parrot is still going strong.
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MercutioATC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-08-04 10:29 PM
Response to Original message
6. The monkey's been signing "pain" for a friggin' MONTH and they just NOW
get her to a dentist???

Who needs to be studied, here?
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Ladyhawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-08-04 10:42 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. You can't just give a gorilla some novacaine and start working on her.
She had to be completely anesthetized and that can be dangerous. They had to be absolutely sure that the procedure was warranted.
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MercutioATC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-08-04 10:50 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. They teach the ape to sign, trust that she's intelligently communicating,
and the best they can do with a sign for "pain" is "Oh, look! She's in pain!"?

...and what's with a captive ape not having a complete physical for 20 years?? I'd think they'd be providing more comprehensive care, especially with an animal that's a subject of so many studies.

It just all sounds very sloppy to me.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-09-04 09:37 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. I often wonder if she's aware that she's "captive"..
I know she's leading a good life, but when I see her it kind of makes me sad.. She would probably not have lived as long in the wild, so I guess it's a trade off..

To see her able to communicate is amazing.. It's too bad they have never helped her have a baby :(
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-09-04 12:06 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. They've tried for years...
but there have been two primary problems.

Pennie has insisted than any progeny that come of any union would be raised by Koko and kept in her custody permanently. Many of the zoos with breeding programs have refused to lend their males because of this requirement.

Also, Pennie has let Koko have a say in who she mated with. The few males who have been offered to Koko/Pennie have been, for the most part, rejected by Koko.

When seeing tape of one of one of her potential mates, Koko kept using the sign for "toilet", which was her use of the sign to mean she thought he was icky. :)

She did have a male available to her for years (Michael?) but they were never successful in mating, and he finally died a few years back.
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Khephra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-09-04 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. I seem to recall reading about a comedian (I think)
who visited Koko, and she started coming on to him and twisting his nipples. I can't remember who it was, but it was ether a great joke or one of the more unusual situations that I can imagine getting into.
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-09-04 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Robin Williams...
He talks about his Koko encounter in one of his shows.

He describes Koko reaching into his shirt and having a little nipple play (for some reason, Koko is simply fascinated with nipples and does this with most men she meets). Williams then described fleeting thoughts about how a Williams/Koko hook-up would be quite the "experience" for him.
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Khephra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-09-04 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Thanks! Trying to remember who it was was driving me up the wall!
:-)
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northzax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-09-04 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. nice of Koko to find someone hairier than she is
to tweak!
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-09-04 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #11
17. Re: Michael
the male who lived with them for years.

In a documentary a few years ago, Pennie speculated that Koko might be very bashful, having been raised with humans. And she was definitely in a quandary then about teaching Koko how to have a normal gorilla sex life.

Michael died of cardiomyopathy. Apparently this is something that plagues male gorillas and they die early because of it. He was only 30 I think.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-09-04 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #11
18. Also. "it takes a village" to raise a baby
gorilla. In the wild, gorillas only reproduce when other female gorillas are around. The entire group helps in raising the infants. I suspect without such a group, Koko feels rather insecure about the prospect of raising a child on her own (even with her humans there).
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mark11727 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-09-04 12:46 AM
Response to Original message
9. National Geographic Magazine - October 1978
has a GREAT article on Koko.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-09-04 12:42 PM
Response to Original message
15. Visit Koko's website
http://www.koko.org/index.phtml

Here's a pic of Koko and Robin Williams.

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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-09-04 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #15
19. Williams is so furry himself
she probably got confused. ;-)
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