Thursday, November 1, 2007

Washoe

The chimpanzee Washoe has died. Probably one of the most famous non-human individuals, Washoe, along with several other individual apes, played an important role in ape language and communication research.

Washoe learned around 250 American Sign Language word signs. Though there is debate about the extent to which Washoe could be regarded as using language, the research involving her helped clarify commonalities and difference in human and chimpanzee communication, as well as the qualities of chimpanzee cognition.

An article about Washoe can be found here.

1 comment:

Angry Lab Rat said...

The only example, along with Koko the signing gorilla, of one species learning the language of another enough to converse. Yep, I'm willing to believe Mankind had been bested. So what were Washoe's last words, I wonder? Maybe, "I've tried for 40 years to teach them, but stupid humans can't learn one word in Chimpanzee."

See my blog post on this at:
http://angrylabrat.blogspot.com/2007/11/goodbye-to-language-pioneer.html