When we say that there might never be another creature more important to their species than Koko the Gorilla, we truly mean that. She sadly died in 2018, but when she was alive, Koko was able to show a level of intelligence that would impress anyone. We know that Gorillas cannot speak English or any other known human language. However, her instructor and caregiver Francine Patterson realized she could teach Koko sign language to communicate with humans.
While it was a version of Gorilla signing, Koko learned more than 1,000 signs to communicate with. That put her on the same level as a three-year-old human. Koko also was able to understand around 2,000 words of English, in addition to Sign Language. Perhaps, the most amazing thing was her recognition skill. When meeting Robin Williams, Koko remembered him from a movie she watched, identified him on the cover of the tape, and was excited to interact with him personally.
While there are some asexual creatures, mostly in the ocean, most of the time you need a mate to create new life. Yet due to problems with a species, some creatures are unable to mate for one reason or another. This led to some animals developing an evolutionary response. In one of the strangest animal habits in history, a Komodo Dragon surprised her caregivers at the London Chester Zoo when she ended up laying eggs.
This would have made sense if the Dragon had a mate, but she didn’t. In fact, she had not been around a male Komodo Dragon in quite some time. You could see how it would surprise everyone. What ended up happening was a “virgin birth,” where the female dragon laid exact clones of herself. The children are literal clones of their mother, down to their DNA. This last-ditch evolutionary response to pass along genes can also be found in Pythons and Swellsharks. Each time, it’s absolutely incredible.
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