jespah
 
Fri 22 Jun, 2018 07:29 pm
She was 46, and she was an incredible link between humans and gorillas.
https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/21/health/koko-gorilla-death-trnd/index.html

I hope where she is, there are a lot of kittens.
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Setanta
 
  4  
Fri 22 Jun, 2018 09:55 pm
She was a wonderful person, and I loved her appearance with Mr. Rogers, which you can see by clicking here.

This is Koko's meeting with Robin Williams:

0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  3  
Fri 22 Jun, 2018 10:47 pm
Koko was a very good kid. Sorry to hear this.
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Fri 22 Jun, 2018 11:43 pm
The ability of Koko to communicate was greatly exaggerated. The Koko legend was an example of a desire to believe on the part of humans along with scientific malpractice.

I have mixed feelings about this loss. The myth and the hype were far more fantastic than the real animal behind it.
glitterbag
 
  2  
Sat 23 Jun, 2018 12:07 am
@Roberta,
Koko was a lovely girl. Rest In Peace!
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  8  
Sat 23 Jun, 2018 09:07 am
@maxdancona,
yeh, he couldn't even do ordinary differential equations, and try as the could, he couldn't understand a word of Sumerian
0 Replies
 
livinglava
 
  3  
Sat 23 Jun, 2018 09:51 am
@maxdancona,
It is interesting that she was so cooperative and willing to work at learning sign language and interacting with humans. I wonder what she was searching for going through Robin Williams' pockets. Maybe she was only being friendly because she was submissive to treats/rewards and she was looking for candy or whatever in his pockets while playing with him.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Sat 23 Jun, 2018 10:32 pm
Koko did not learn sign language. Koko was trained to wave his hands around while humans, who profited the hype, decided what he was saying.

It would be easy to prove that an animal can actually communicate with sign language. You would have an independent researcher give Koko an experience that the interpreter couldn't see. For example you could put an blue cat, or a piece of cheese in a box. If the interpreter can determine what was in the box by communicating with Koko, that would be impressive.

But Koko couldn't do that. The interpreters were talking with Koko the way that mediums talk to ghosts. They told the public what the public wanted to hear and the public believed.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Sat 23 Jun, 2018 10:45 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
One of the most damning critiques of the claims of the early primate sign language researchers, which is reported in Pinker, comes from a deaf signer on the team that worked with Washoe -- the only person on that team who was a native speaker of the ASL that they were supposed to be teaching the chimp:

Every time the chimp made a sign, we were supposed to write it down in the log ... they were always complaining because my log didn't show enough signs. All the hearing people turned in logs with long lists of signs. They always saw more signs than I did ... I watched really carefully. This chimp's hands were moving constantly. Maybe I missed something, but I don't think so. I just wasn't seeing any signs. The hearing people were logging every movement the chimp made as a sign. Every time the chimp put his finger in his mouth, they'd say "Oh, he's making the sign for drink," and they'd give him some milk ... When the chimp scratched itself, they'd record it as the sign for scratch ... When [the chimps] want something, they reach. Sometimes [the trainers would] say, "Oh, amazing, look at that, it's exactly like the ASL sign for give!" It wasn't.
Kolyo
 
  4  
Sat 23 Jun, 2018 11:20 pm
@maxdancona,
I'm confused about who the chimp is. I thought koko was a gorilla?

And why do you always refer to her as he?
maxdancona
 
  0  
Sat 23 Jun, 2018 11:26 pm
@Kolyo,
Whatever. Koko was an animal that was trained to move it's hands around so humans could pretend to interpret what it was saying.

There is no independent scientific research to suggest that any non-human animal can use sign language to communicate in any meaningful way. If you take a class in linguistics, they will tell you this.
glitterbag
 
  4  
Sun 24 Jun, 2018 12:50 am
@maxdancona,
Why is it so important for you to pee in everybody's Wheaties? Buzz Kill
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Sun 24 Jun, 2018 02:13 am
Some people raise their skepticism to the level of a religion. There was an African grey parrot who died in 2007, about age 30, who was the subject of almost 30 years of research--Alex. Alex was taught to say words in English, and to use his vocabulary in the research project. He was not given "treats" or any other rewards for speaking. The woman who set up the project went to a pet shop, but did not look at the birds for sale; rather, she just told the clerk to go get her one. She didn't want anyone to be able to say she had attempted to get a "clever" bird.

Alex was capable of recognizing shapes, colors and materials. Shown a green plastic cup and a green plastic key (a child's toy) and asked what was different, Alex would clearly say "shape." Shown two objects of the same size and shape, and asked the difference, he might say "wood" to distinguish it from a plastic object. (I don't know if he ever learned to say plastic."") If he didn't want to begin the day immediately with the trials, he would often say "want grape," meaning he was hungry ("grape" was his omnibus term for food). When other birds were introduced into the study, one of his dominance traits was to criticize the quality of the other birds' speech.

You can read the Wikipedia article about Alex by clicking here.

You can read Alex's obituary in The New York Times by clicking here.

You can read about Alex in a British Library article by clicking here.

Dr. Pepperberg's methodology was considered sound by other animal behaviorists.

***************************************

Yet the religiously skeptical would have us believe that a high-level primate was just waving her hands around to please the humans. A bonobo called Kanzi was a part of a methodologically careful study in which he pushed touch keys to produce a spoken word, and did so in response to human speech. You can read about Kanzi by clicking here. That particular machine-method has been in use for decades to assure that the test subjects are not just waving their hands around to please the humans. With Kanzi, the reseachers wore masks so that Kanzi would not be said to have been reacting to their eye movements.

Really, that sort of skepticism assumes that the humans doing the research are stupid and gullible. I highly recommend reading this Wikipedia article about the chimpanzee Washoe, the first great ape taught to use ASL. The first time she saw ducks, she signed "water birds" to her human companion, although they had never discussed water fowl. I found this line in the article particularly telling:

Quote:
When new students came to work with Washoe, she would slow down her rate of signing for novice speakers of sign language, which had a humbling effect on many of them.


But what the hell do I know--they're just dumb animals, right?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Sun 24 Jun, 2018 03:02 am
https://straightfromthedogsmouth.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/dog_border-collie.jpg

I had to go upstairs to get the reference for this one. Betsy is a long-haired border collie living in Vienna. (I believe she is still alive, she was born in 2002.) Betsy was able to retrieve objects from another room, objects she had never seen before, when shown a photograph of the object. Her success rate is about 95%. She also recognizes more than a dozen humans by their names. Told to "go get Uwe," for example, she will go into another room, find Uwe, and urge her to follow her into the room she came from. You can read the Wikipedia article about Betsy by clicking here.

The border collie Chaser is said to recognize more than a thousand words. You can read an article about the NOVA program about Chaser by clicking here.

I haven't gotten to the dolphins yet.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  -1  
Sun 24 Jun, 2018 07:29 am
Animals are amazing. Animals are cool. Animals have adapted to live in social groups and to interact in a human world. I have no problem with the animals.

The problem is the human researchers who are guilty of scientific malpractice bordering on outright fraud. This was certainly the case with Koko.

The reason you know about Koko that the gorilla was heavily promoted by a research group that was widely criticized by the scientific community. They went as far as to publish a ridiculous political message where the animal (through a voice over from the human interpreter) castigated environmental policies that many humans don't understand.

Linguists (the experts who actually study language) will tell you that no non-human animal has come anywhere close to mimimicking the human ability to express new ideas or abstract thoughts using language.

I can tell my dog to "sit". I can tell my daughter to make a list of things she needs for her camping trip. Only one of those is an example of human language.

Humans have a desire to believe... and the probably uniquely human ability to project their desires onto other species.

The scientists who are promoting these myths are being irresponsible.
Setanta
 
  3  
Sun 24 Jun, 2018 01:27 pm
Of the pig-headed conceit of morons, there is no end.

Don't bother me with facts, my mind is already made up!
chai2
 
  1  
Sun 24 Jun, 2018 03:01 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Whatever.


Laughing
0 Replies
 
coluber2001
 
  4  
Sun 24 Jun, 2018 03:34 pm
Koko is the voice of nature.

Ragman
 
  2  
Sun 24 Jun, 2018 05:36 pm
@coluber2001,
Koko, the stand-up comedian. Some poetic license has been taken here but it’s all for a good cause.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  0  
Mon 25 Jun, 2018 09:22 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta.... you spent time googling non-scientific arguments that agree with your position, and you ignore the scientific papers referenced in your links that refute your point of view. And you are angry enough that you can't resist calling people who are supporting the majority of the experts in the field "morons".

You are a funny (and angry) man....
 

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