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A Fowl Fate

I couldn't quite figure out how to categorize this one. There are stories of children being raised by wolves, but here's the first case, at least of which I'm aware, of a man being raised by chickens.

It will be certain to be the butt of jokes, but of course it's a tragic situation. I really mean it--once you get past the absurdity of it, it really was catastrophic for the poor guy.

But it could have been worse--he was fortunate that it happened after he had at least developed the ability to speak. Children raised without human contact from birth never develop the ability to do so--there's a certain critical point in development and the wiring of the brain during which speech is acquired, and if you miss it, you've apparently missed it forever. The story claims that he is learning (or relearning) how to speak, and presumably to eat with utensils instead of pecking.

Of course, as the old joke in the Woody Allen movie (Annie Hall?) went, they may not want to go too far in rehabilitating him. They won't get any more eggs. Besides, he may have a thrilling career ahead of him as a sports team mascot.

Posted by Rand Simberg at July 13, 2004 04:35 PM
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Isn't there some debate however that the two studies of the wild boy in France and the little girl locked in the closet that they exhibited a number of signs of mental retardation. So, its tough to say exactly whether they lacked the capability to speak based solely on a in utero mental disorder or if the mental disorder was a result of their lack of human interaction during the critical development periods. Just had this argument...err debate with my girlfriend while she was taking her developmental psychology class.

Posted by Hefty at July 13, 2004 05:41 PM

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