Koko the gorilla is now 44 years old, and still as impressive as ever. The famous ape, known especially for her sign language abilities, continues to capture imaginations and remind us how close we really are to our fellow primates. Koko is especially unique in that her time among her adoptive researcher parents has actually allowed her to develop to be a little bit more like us than the usual gorilla. She can recognize herself in the mirror, for instance, something most gorillas can’t do. Most impressively, she is able to not only sign words she’s already learn, but use those words together to create new ones that nobody taught her.
She is also quite fond of kittens, and has recently adopted a pair of her own. This video shows the tender moment where Koko meets her kittens for the first time. The real high point of the clip is when she requests that her handler do something very silly and specific with one of the kittens.