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‘Feral children’ (or wild children) is the term used to designate children believed to have spent a long period of time in isolation from other human beings. Although the motif of children raised by animals or isolated from human contact has featured prominently in myth and literature since antiquity—Romulus and Remus, Mowgli, and Tarzan being among the best known examples—the number of reported cases of ‘real’ feral children is very small. This entry examines the history of accounts on feral children and debates about feral children and why the idea of feral children has long fascinated child studies scholars.

The History of Accounts on Feral Children

In the 10th edition of Systema Naturae, published in 1758, the Swedish naturalist and taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus introduced the category ‘Homo ...

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