Page 1 of 1

Feral Humans?

Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:27 pm
by Idlewild
There are certainly a lot of legends regarding humans living with/ being raised as wolves. But is there any tangible or recorded cases of real humans surviving as feral humans amongst wolves?

Re: Feral Humans?

Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:51 pm
by Canidae
From pages 108-109 of The Wolf Almanac:

One of the strongest cornerstones of wolf mythology is that of wolves raising orphaned children. Although there is no documented evidence to support any of the stories, it is possible that they may have originated from small children crawling into wolf dens and being discovered there later by humans who misinterpreted the circumstances. Many of these stories originated in India, where it was common for poverty-stricken parents to abandon their unwanted children. It is also interesting that most of these stories appeared after 1894, when Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book introduced the character of Mowgli, and Indian orphan raised by wolves.

However, there are much earlier accounts, many of which are probably related to the wolf's early status as a symbol of fertility. The oldest recorded case appears to be that of the German wolf child of Hesse in 1344. Another early report of children purported to have been raised by wolves was that written in 1758 by Linnaeus.

India is especially rich in such tales; that of the wolf child of Mynepuri in 1872 is one of the first from that country. The most famous of the purported wolf children were Amala and Kamala, two girls supposedly found huddled together with two wolf pups in a wolf den near Calcutta in 1920. The girls reportedly could not walk upright, preferred darkness to light, and ate only red meat. One of the girls died a year later at about two and a half years of age; the other, about eight years old when found, lived to seventeen. Both died of kidney failure. Note--I'm omitting some religious stuff in this excerpt. If you want to read the full excerpt, visit the link at the bottom of this post. The man who was supposed to have found them, J. A. L. Singh, published a book about his experience in 1942 that found wide appeal. Unfortunately, investigation of his claims in 1950 found that Singh was not a man of good reputation, and likely invented the story to raise funds for his orphanage. Several people also claimed that the two children had been brought to his orphanage, and were not found in the wild. It is suspected from their recorded behavior that they were either autistic or mentally handicapped.

One of the most recent reports of feral children was in 1972 near Musafirkhana in India. The four-year-old child involved ended up at Mother Teresa's Home in Lucknow, where he died after seven years of care.

It is notable that very few stories of feral wolf children originate in North America. One of the handful of such tales that do exist is of a girl supposedly raised by wolves in Texas. The girl was born in 1835 and was soon orphaned and presumed dead after the deaths of her parents. In 1845, a naked girl with long hair was reported seen attacking a herd of goats. She was accompanied by a pack of wolves. The girl was caught and held at the nearest ranch, but quickly escaped. She was reportedly seen again in 1852, but then disappeared. Researchers have been unable to authenticate this unusual story.

Read the unedited selection here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=iUVJsG ... 22&f=false

You will need to click on the rectangular preview to see the full text.

Re: Feral Humans?

Posted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:37 pm
by Sweetpea RAWR
Hard to say. Honestly, I think its a bunch of old legends, but i wouldn't be shocked to see it happen. Wolves are loving creatures if you look past the hunting, so why shouldn't they want to protect a baby they find in the woods?

Re: Feral Humans?

Posted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:41 pm
by Canidae
Sweetpea RAWR wrote: Wolves are loving creatures if you look past the hunting, so why shouldn't they want to protect a baby they find in the woods?
Because a human baby would be an entirely different species.

Re: Feral Humans?

Posted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:39 am
by Keystone42
As Canidae has illustrated there's plenty of anecdotal evidence of human children being raised by wolves, however the plural of anecdote isn't data. There are loads of anecdotal stories about wolves, but just because someone two hundred years ago claimed they fought off packs of over a hundred wolves with a bent, rusty spoon, that doesn't necessarily mean it's true. Considering I am yet to find a single account which is properly documented with evidence, and considering the logistics behind such behaviour are so complex and unlikely, I am inclined to believe that it has never actually happened. The fact that many of these accounts over the years are now known to have been faked (the case study of Amala and Kamala is a classic example) adds further weight to this.

Also, in support of Canidae's second comment, a lot of 'loving' behaviour can be species specific. After all wolves might show strong parental care towards wolf pups, but they don't show much of that to cute fluffy bunnies... :D

Re: Feral Humans?

Posted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:13 pm
by Sweetpea RAWR
Also, in support of Canidae's second comment, a lot of 'loving' behaviour can be species specific. After all wolves might show strong parental care towards wolf pups, but they don't show much of that to cute fluffy bunnies... :D[/quote]

Yes but I think that a wolf mother could not sit there and watch a human child die. Its the same way with us, we can't watch a baby animal die. There has to be some sort of kinship there.

Re: Feral Humans?

Posted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:38 pm
by Keystone42
Yes but I think that a wolf mother could not sit there and watch a human child die. Its the same way with us, we can't watch a baby animal die. There has to be some sort of kinship there.
In India (and other countries) there are plenty of documented cases of wolves killing humans, and the majority of these are directed towards children, so I can't say I reckon wolves change their mind based on how cute things are. Don't forget that what's appealing to us might not be appealing to them either. For example, we might see a little puppy dog as cute, but they'd see it as potential competition or a major invasion of their territory. We might see a fawn as cute, but they would see it as an easy meal. We might feel sorry for something that was making frantic squeaking noises and want to help, but to a wolf that's just a sure sign of wounded prey. Nature is red in tooth and claw, as the saying goes. It's still beautiful, fascinating, inspiring and more, don't get me wrong, but it certainly doesn't conform to our human ideas of morality. When every day is a battle for survival you just can't afford to behave any differently.

Re: Feral Humans?

Posted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:40 pm
by Canidae
Sweetpea RAWR wrote:Yes but I think that a wolf mother could not sit there and watch a human child die. Its the same way with us, we can't watch a baby animal die. There has to be some sort of kinship there.

We are human--wolves are wolves. It's important not to assign too many human qualities to wolves; they're animals.

I would pretty much expect a wolf mother to eat a dying human baby, not take it under her care and raise it as her own child. Like Keystone said, a starving human baby might be the most pitiable thing on earth for us, but I think a wolf would see a dying human baby as 1) Small and defenseless, 2) Weak and sick, and 3) A quick snack.