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Cambodian 'jungle woman' flees back to wild

1069

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I find historical accounts of feral children fascinating.
It is from studying them that we know about the effects of deprivation on cognitive development, since obviously it would be unethical to deliberately deprive children of intellectual stimulus in the name of research.
A child deprived of exposure to spoken language, for example, will grow up to be an adult incapable of developing a vocabulary more extensive than a toddler's.
Without the necessary stimulus, brain synapses don't develop and die off, and these things cannot be learned later in life. There is a window of opportunity in early childhood for language-learning, and if language is not acquired during that time, it will never be.
There has never been a case of a feral child acclimating in any meaningful way to society.
 
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The Mark

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I find historical accounts of feral children fascinating.
It is from studying them that we know about the effects of deprivation on cognitive development, since obviously it would be unethical to deliberately deprive children of intellectual stimulus in the name of research.
A child deprived of exposure to spoken language, for example, will grow up to be an adult incapable of developing a vocabulary more extensive than a toddler's.
Without the necessary stimulus, brain synapses don't develop and die off, and these things cannot be learned later in life. There is a window of opportunity in early childhood for language-learning, and if language is not acquired during that time, it will never be.
There has never been a case of a feral child acclimating in any meaningful way to society.
It would be interesting to explore methods of reversing or bypassing the issues you mention.
 

spud_meister

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just read the article, found this amusing

However, Mr Lou refused a DNA test. A Cambodian non-governmental organisation believes that it is impossible that a girl of eight could survive in the jungle and that she was actually brought up in captivity.
:lol:
 

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From a socio-anthropological perspective, we've always been fascinated by feral children- or I should say, by the myth of feral children- as evidenced by their prominence in popular film and literature.
The reality of them is infinitely sadder, although no less interesting.

Most feral children throughout history have not survived more than a few years after being reintegrated into society. Actually, I'm not sure any true ferals have.
Humans, in their feral state, cannot withstand captivity.

I hope they never find her.
 

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From a socio-anthropological perspective, we've always been fascinated by feral children- or I should say, by the myth of feral children- as evidenced by their prominence in popular film and literature.
The reality of them is infinitely sadder, although no less interesting.

Most feral children throughout history have not survived more than a few years after being reintegrated into society. Actually, I'm not sure any true ferals have.
Humans, in their feral state, cannot withstand captivity.

I hope they never find her.
This brings up an interesting question regarding the whole "innate human rights" idea...

In the absence of any human society, do humans have rights?
 

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This brings up an interesting question regarding the whole "innate human rights" idea...

In the absence of any human society, do humans have rights?
In the wild? No. Feral humans are animals. The law of the wild is kill or be killed.
They certainly can't be held to society's laws (as they're utterly incapable of comprehending them), and I don't think society sees itself as needing to observe any of their civil rights.
Typically it treats them as it treats profoundly mentally retarded individuals, ie locking them up (for the purpose of studying them). We seem to feel ethically obligated to treat these individuals as humanely as we treat animals- rare and valuable animals- but we do not seem to feel obliged to extend any sort of civil rights to them (not that they'd be capable of exercising them anyway).
We seem to feel it's okay to hold them captive against their will, ostensibly for the purpose of "treating' and "protecting" them, despite the fact that they were obviously surviving in the wild without any help from us.

This case is interesting in that it involves a feral adult; most feral children found have still been juveniles or adolescents. This presents less of an ethical dilemma in that minors are not extended the same civil rights as adults in any event, and can be legally held against their will by family members or the State.

Although no previous true feral has survived for long in captivity, most well-documented cases- for instance, Victor, the Wild Boy of Aveyron, aka L'Enfant Sauvage, and Amala and Kamala, the "wolf girls" of India- were before the advent of modern medicine, and these children may have already been weakened from their time in the wild, so that their immune systems could not withstand exposure to common illnesses they encountered when brought to civilization.
 

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From a socio-anthropological perspective, we've always been fascinated by feral children- or I should say, by the myth of feral children- as evidenced by their prominence in popular film and literature.
The reality of them is infinitely sadder, although no less interesting.

Most feral children throughout history have not survived more than a few years after being reintegrated into society. Actually, I'm not sure any true ferals have.
Humans, in their feral state, cannot withstand captivity.

I hope they never find her.
I agree.

I think it's most destructive to "civilize" people when they don't want to be.
As long as she isn't hurting anyone, let her be.
 

digsbe

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I really hope this child wasn't like the Genie case. I would venture to say that most feral children were not raised in the wild, but were neglected and abused by their parents and deprived of social and lingual development. I can't imagine the woods being the safest place for this woman, but if she is being abused and studied then she's safer there than with humans who will abuse and mistreat her. In Genie's case I believe things became so bad that they have moved her to an undisclosed location where she can live out the rest of her days with a care giver.
 

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I really hope this child wasn't like the Genie case. I would venture to say that most feral children were not raised in the wild, but were neglected and abused by their parents and deprived of social and lingual development. I can't imagine the woods being the safest place for this woman, but if she is being abused and studied then she's safer there than with humans who will abuse and mistreat her. In Genie's case I believe things became so bad that they have moved her to an undisclosed location where she can live out the rest of her days with a care giver.
Genie was not a true feral child.
She was both mentally retarded and profoundly abused and neglected by her caregivers.
Nor was Genie an isolated case: children like her are unearthed and removed to safety by CPS almost annually.
Genie was of interest to the scientific community only because her case came to light at a time when there was a lot of controversy over early childhood education and how children learn.
She was the subject of intense study, because they were trying to determine how much of her disability was innate, and how much of it stemmed from her deprivation, and whether- in either case- she had the capacity to learn to function at a higher level.
No consensus was reached, and when they were done studying her, they dumped her in some adult care facility, where she resides to this day, and forgot about her.

Today, the case would've been handled differently; they would've probably tried to find a foster home for her, with a possibility of adoption.
 
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Digs, if you're interested in "Genie" (real name Susan Wiley), you can learn more about her here:

Genie Wiley - RoyalWeb

Apparently she reunited with her biological mother, who visited her in the adult care facility where she currently resides (there is a picture of the two of them).
Before dying in 2003, Genie's mother filed suit against the California authorities who removed Genie and held her for testing.
 
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I agree.

I think it's most destructive to "civilize" people when they don't want to be.
As long as she isn't hurting anyone, let her be.
A thought - Does a human being (biologically) = a human being (sociologically)?

By which I mean: If, as in this case, a human develops to biological adulthood, but sociological/mental development is stunted/not complete (as judged by a more or less “normal” human in, say, a tribal society, or any other example you care to name)…Are they “human” in the sense we usually associate to the term?

Or are they closer to the “less evolved” humans in the past?

And stuff and things…perhaps not getting my point across well.
 

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A thought - Does a human being (biologically) = a human being (sociologically)?

By which I mean: If, as in this case, a human develops to biological adulthood, but sociological/mental development is stunted/not complete (as judged by a more or less “normal” human in, say, a tribal society, or any other example you care to name)…Are they “human” in the sense we usually associate to the term?

Or are they closer to the “less evolved” humans in the past?

And stuff and things…perhaps not getting my point across well.
Another thought: if I were suddenly picked up and plunked down in the middle of the jungle, I would consider myself very fortunate to encounter this feral woman.
In fact, my life might depend upon it, upon her survival skills.

She's "differently evolved".

It's very remarkable that she's survived over two decades- not just in the wilderness as we know it, but in the jungle. Obviously, her sister- lost with her- died at some point, probably early on, considering the girl, nine at the time of her disappearance, has lost the ability to speak and also the habit of covering her nudity.
I imagine that if her sister was with her for long, she would've retained these two human traits.
I think she's been without any human contact for the past twenty years.

As an interesting side note, the famous French feral child, Victor of Aveyron, apparently raised by wolves in the woods outside Saint-Sernin-sur-Rance, was first sighted by villagers in winter, merrily frolicking naked in the snow, literally rolling around in it, exhibiting no apparent discomfort or signs of hypothermia.
Discomfort/pain when exposed to extreme temperatures is apparently a learned, rather than an innate, trait, and the desire to cover one's nakedness against the weather is probably also not a primal instinct or a prehistoric trait, but one we picked up at some point after civilization had already been established.

Rochom P'ngieng's parents say that she "ripped off her clothes" before fleeing back to the jungle.
Apparently, she doesn't find them to be in any way useful to her survival.
It's just interesting to me because the popular archetype of a prehistoric human always has them wearing furs, or hides, or at least a loincloth or something.
It's clear to me just from what I know of modern-day feral individuals that they probably didn't.
There would've been no reason to.

edit: The other interesting thing about ferals- whether raised by animals or not- is that they tend to move like animals, and be most comfortable crouching or walking on all fours. They often exhibit little interest in walking upright, although they're certainly capable of it, and revert back to crouching and creeping as soon as they're permitted to.

It makes you wonder how "evolved" humans really are; devolution doesn't happen in one generation.
If not for social conditioning, perhaps none of us would be doing much upright walking, at least not on a regular basis, as it's apparently not a human's natural state.
 
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digsbe

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Digs, if you're interested in "Genie" (real name Susan Wiley), you can learn more about her here:

Genie Wiley - RoyalWeb

Apparently she reunited with her biological mother, who visited her in the adult care facility where she currently resides (there is a picture of the two of them).
Before dying in 2003, Genie's mother filed suit against the California authorities who removed Genie and held her for testing.
Thanks for the link, I'll look into it. I learned about Genie in a psych class I took at my college. We watched some documentary on her that was pretty hold. I heard awful things happened to her in foster care. She was making progress in her mental recovery, but once she vomited and evidently the foster family beat her for throwing up on the floor. This gave her the fear of never opening her mouth for a very long time. Honestly, I think they should set laws in place to prevent things like what happened to Genie from happening to others.
 

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I've been to Cambodia. The jungle there is extremely dangerous, even in the areas beside cities. If she survived in the jungle throughout her entire life then she's probably better off there. I mean, look at how foreign nature is to humans who grew up in urban areas; now imagine someone growing up in the jungle and coming to the city. It must be very stressful and confusing.

I agree... I hope they never find her. I understand her family's emotional dilemma, but she is akin to a wild animal and it's pointless to try and train her to be part of human society.

The very notion of feral children makes me wonder what would happen to humans if our civilization ever collapsed.
 

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I've been to Cambodia. The jungle there is extremely dangerous, even in the areas beside cities. If she survived in the jungle throughout her entire life then she's probably better off there. I mean, look at how foreign nature is to humans who grew up in urban areas; now imagine someone growing up in the jungle and coming to the city. It must be very stressful and confusing.

I agree... I hope they never find her. I understand her family's emotional dilemma, but she is akin to a wild animal and it's pointless to try and train her to be part of human society.

The very notion of feral children makes me wonder what would happen to humans if our civilization ever collapsed.
A group of sociologists studied this phenomenon in Japan, in the immediate aftermath of WWII.
They studied homeless, orphaned children, and they ascertained that children as young as five years old were able to survive on the street.
In war-devastated urban areas, children banded together and formed animal-like packs for protection. They lived on whatever they could scavenge or steal.

If society collapsed, half the world's population would probably die off in the first few years.
The others- the more adaptable ones- would simply... assimilate, the way these children did, to the new order of the day.
 

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I was just about to read the article when I saw this:

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?????
 

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I was just about to read the article when I saw this:

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?????
I saw something like that last night.
It said 174 guests were viewing a thread in the abortion forum.
I was like, "Come on; sure, we're entertaining, but are there really that many people who have no life? I mean, it's 11 o'clock on a Saturday night, here." :confused:
 

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A thought - Does a human being (biologically) = a human being (sociologically)?

By which I mean: If, as in this case, a human develops to biological adulthood, but sociological/mental development is stunted/not complete (as judged by a more or less “normal” human in, say, a tribal society, or any other example you care to name)…Are they “human” in the sense we usually associate to the term?

Or are they closer to the “less evolved” humans in the past?

And stuff and things…perhaps not getting my point across well.
She is not stunted, she has just adapted to her environment which has been the norm for so long, that reforming her would be a long and arduous process.

She is "normal" considering her surroundings.
I guess it fulfills the idea that, there is no normal.
 

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She is not stunted, she has just adapted to her environment which has been the norm for so long, that reforming her would be a long and arduous process.

She is "normal" considering her surroundings.
I guess it fulfills the idea that, there is no normal.
More or less what I figured...

But still, I wonder what would have developed if she was with several other children in the situation hypothesized? A new language, of sorts?
 

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More or less what I figured...

But still, I wonder what would have developed if she was with several other children in the situation hypothesized? A new language, of sorts?
Lord of the flies. :mrgreen:

No, actually- as I hypothesized earlier in the thread- if her sister had survived, I believe they would've retained their original language (at whatever level it was when they left civilization) and some civilized customs, such as improvising clothing to cover their nudity. This would be especially true if her sister were near her age or older (I haven't come across the age of the sister when the two disappeared).

In fact, I feel- although I'm not sure why- that if there'd been two of them, they might have found their way back to civilization much sooner.
 

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From a socio-anthropological perspective, we've always been fascinated by feral children- or I should say, by the myth of feral children- as evidenced by their prominence in popular film and literature.
The reality of them is infinitely sadder, although no less interesting.

Most feral children throughout history have not survived more than a few years after being reintegrated into society. Actually, I'm not sure any true ferals have.
Humans, in their feral state, cannot withstand captivity.

I hope they never find her.

I got lost in Google land for quite awhile reading about feral children. One story led to another. God, They're just so tragic.

I hope they never find her either.
 

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I got lost in Google land for quite awhile reading about feral children. One story led to another. God, They're just so tragic.

I hope they never find her either.

Isn't the internet cool? :lol:
 
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