Dr. Ronald Cohn is a long-time research collaborator of psychologist Dr. Francine Patterson in her work in training Koko the gorilla in the use of American sign language. He has documented much of Koko's life on film and on camera, and is credited as the illustrator for the children's books Koko's Kitten, Koko-Love!: Conversations With a Signing Gorilla, and Koko's Story.
At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he received his bachelor's degree in 1965, his master's degree in zoology in 1967, and his Ph.D. in biology in 1971.
He is a co-founder of The Gorilla Foundation.