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Rollo has also learned to make nonsensical word-like symbols that have researchers wondering if he could ever learn to write.

Ape learns sign language, asks researchers to shut up

Rollo, a silverback gorilla who has learned to communicate via sign language, has requested that his keepers stop talking to him.

“We are amazed at the level of sophistication in his speech,” said primatologist Wayne Thorsen.

Last week, after six years of intensive training, Rollo asked the instructor, “Is lesson done?” to which the instructor answered “Yes”. Rollo then signed, “Great. Now buzz off.”

Researchers were thrilled and puzzled, then asking Rollo to clarify his statement. He said, “Want repeat everything last six years.”


“Teacher not very shiny.”

“We’re still not sure what he meant by ‘shiny’,” said Thorsen, “but we can’t wait to spend the next few years working with him on more advanced language concepts.”

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