Feral children have been science’s answer to ethically studying the “nature versus nurture” argument for decades, as well as the media’s way of having a field day for just as long. Untouched by human contact, these kids and their respective stories are both sickening and awe-inspiring. The human race is incredibly resilient, and this is the proof. Here, we present five stories of feral children raised by animals.
Number Five: Natasha Mikhailova. As you can probably gather from the picture, Natasha Mikhailova was effectually raised by dogs. When she was found, she drank water with her tongue, licked food off of the plate, and barked to communicate. She had had absolutely no contact with the outside world since her birth.
Number Four: Vanya Yudin. Known as the bird boy, Vanya Yudin was found at the age of seven. However, he did not grow up alone; his mother was there, but she grossly neglected him, leaving Vanya to attach to the closest thing he could find: birds. The apartment he shared with his mom contained many birds, so he picked his behavior up from them. He chirped to communicate and often flapped his arms to express frustration.
Number Three: Lyokha. Lyokha has been so evasive that there are no existing pictures of him. He was caught living with a pack of wolves in Moscow, functioning as one of their equals. Everything he did resembled wolf-like behavior. He crouched when he moved, and both his hands and feet had claw-like protuberances. His teeth were also sharp like a wolf’s. Though he was taken to a hospital for rehabilitation, he escaped and could not be contained. He is yet to be found in the forests of Moscow.
Number Two: Monkey Boy. Monkey boy is exactly that: a boy raised by orangutans as one of their own. When he was found, he was so integral to the community of orangutans that his capture was made extremely difficult, and the other orangutans did everything in their power to keep him from being captured. He was incapable of using language when he was found.
Number One: Genie. Genie is one of the most famous stories of feral children. Though she wasn’t raised by animals, one could argue that her father was worse than an animal. Abusive and controlling, her father did not let Genie-speak and even confined her to her potty chair, where she sat for days on end. She was never able to fully develop as an adult and has been the topic of many introductory psychology courses since her discovery in the 1970s.