Monkey mourned.jpg

Monkey mourned

By: NATASHA SMITH

[email protected]

THE FIRST chimpanzee to learn sign language has died at the age of 42 of natural causes at research institute in Washington, US, where she lived.

She had a vocabulary of around 250 words and is believed to be the first non-human to acquire human language. She was born in Africa in around 1965, where she was captured by the Air Force and taken to the US, initially for research in the space programme but was taught language by scientists Allen and Beatrix Gardner.