Feral children: Questioning the human-animal boundary from an anthropological perspective.
Human children who grew up solely in the care of animals for some time are referred to as feral children. There are many myths about them, but a few actual cases have been carefully documented as I will show in this paper. Kamala from India, Marcos from Spain and Oxana from Ukraine have all been living with wolves or dogs and adapted almost completely to their way of living. The effort to resocialize them into human society showed how profound their animal socialization had been. Especially communication and physical contact with the respective animals were essential to the children’s development and imprint. Their relationship with nonhuman animals had a deep impact on their identity. The recognition, you become who you’re with, suggests that traits are not genetically caused but to a great extent environmentally influenced. As the phenomenon of feral children shows, these traits are interchangeable. The existence of feral children questions the boundaries between human and nonhuman animals, and asks to reconsider our unique status within the animal kingdom.