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Uganda's "Monkey Boy": Can feral humans become physically more hominid-like?

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posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 02:46 PM
A while back I saw a documentary on feral pigs in the United States.
It seems that these hogs can revert to atavistic features once dominant in their ancestors.
Over time young domesticated pigs that have gone wild revert to the skull structure, bigger size and hairiness of their recently wild ancestors.

I've been wondering for a while if these characteristics were only found in pigs.

Last night I saw a documentary about feral children, specifically on the case of John Ssebunya: Raised Wild: The Monkey Boy of Uganda.

This was very interesting, since I suspected that such cases were mostly frauds (like the kangaroo girl of Australia), but here Dr. Mary-Ann Ochota traveled to Uganda, and she found the people who discovered the boy living with monkeys, his various teachers, and ultimately she found the young man himself.

The boy had run into the forest during the civil war and was found in 1992.
Although he spent his first years with humans, he had spent three years living with monkeys by the age of seven.
The monkeys fed and protected him, and fiercely tried to defend him from his discoverers.

What's really interesting is that when he was found he physically looked like a monkey!
I haven't seen the other episodes yet, but it didn't surprise me that he acted like a monkey at first (just like some feral children act like dogs), but it was the first time I heard that human bodies can physically revert or change like this.

He had hair covering his face and body, and the villagers first regarded him as a monster.
He had to be shaved all over, although the face and body hair never returned.

The people who first found him describe this quite vividly, and Dr. Ochota simply remarked that "children's bodies" could adapt in this way.
Huh, they can?

I found this issue was never scientifically explained, and down-played in the otherwise gripping documentary.
Instead, the focus was on John's mental development.

This got me wondering about Zana, the Russian "wild woman" who was captured by villagers in what is now Abkhazia in the mid-19 century.

I recall a documentary where her skull and DNA were not found to be Neanderthal, but human, although researchers agreed that she was a strange looking lady.
In fact, despite her strange and prehistoric appearance, she had 6 children with village men.

Could it be that some hominid-like creatures were simply humans who had reverted to a more hominid state?
Were the "Almas" or Almasti and some similar creatures simply breeding populations of wild humans who had changed appearance?

Given the right age and environment, can humans become more hominid?
The case of Uganda's "monkey boy" may suggest this.

Here is a link about the program on John Ssebunya, and the first clip describes what the villagers found.

edit on 11-1-2013 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 03:06 PM
reply to post by halfoldman

I don't know. But my grand dad worked very hard all his life. He wasn't very tall and he wasn't a big man either, but he had huge, strong hands. When I was a kid we'd arm wrestle and he'd engulf my hand and half my forearm. His hands "evolved" in to the tools he needed to do his work. Now, if you're born in the wilderness and left to fend for yourself, you would need to be able to climb trees, move stones and brake rotten tree trucks for food like larvae. Maybe even dig borrows. With the proper nutrients one would become quite strong maybe even bigger hand and feet with thicker skin. But to become ape like, I believe it would take more than a few generations if at all.

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 03:24 PM
Yeah, I guess "ape-like" is a bit of a misnomer, although I wasn't sure at first how to describe it.

I'll change my title to "hominid-like", since the "ape-men" of cryptozoology are often described as our "hominid cousins" in some form or other.

It sounds fantastical, but I think this story is genuine, and he grew hair.

However, he didn't grow a tail like the monkeys (and apes don't really have tails).

He only "reverted" within certain boundaries.

He also had a deep connection to the monkeys, and would run back into the forest when possible, until he was moved to a more urban school.

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 03:32 PM
reply to post by halfoldman

This I don't get. If he keep running back it's because he prefers it there. I say leave him alone. He's only known that life, why not let him have it.

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 03:42 PM
Hm. I don't know. Interesting question to consider.
I often wonder if we don't actually start to take on certain appearence according to what we relate to or focus on a lot, because I notice that people who work intensely with a certain kind of animal often start to look like that animal!

So many people into equestrian activities look like horses! I mean men and women with big teeth, for example. I even have "bars" like a horse... that is, on each side, top and bottom, of a horses gums, he has a space with no teeth. This is why we can put a bit in their mouth. In the same area, I never had adult teeth come in, there just wasn't any in my gums. I can wear a bit.

Perhaps just a coincidence that I also have had a passion for horses since I was young.

But when I see researchers and trainers that work with dolphins, big cats, bears, wolves, etc. And have features typical of that animal, I always wonder at that. Especially because I have known at least a couple that didn't seem to look the same before they started that activity! (but I only judged that from photos).

But heck, maybe if I stopped shaving my legs I'd look like a yeti.

edit on 11-1-2013 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 04:04 PM
reply to post by XLR8R

Yeah, I found that part of the documentary quite touching and heartbreaking.

It seems that his mother died in the war or moved away during his absence, but his abusive father was alive but rejected the scarred boy, and subsequently hanged himself.

Today John is a successful musician, and he's saving up to buy his own farm.

He still visits the monkeys in the local animal park and feels a connection with them.

I think he would have died very young if left with the monkeys.

Of course some feral or neglected children never recover or learn human speech.
While language is inherent in most humans, it also appears that if these centers aren't stimulated by human speech at a very early phase then these kids will never learn to talk (at least not in human speech).
Luckily for John they were already activated when he fled to the forest, and he could re-integrate into human society.

If one thinks about past ages in Europe, where wars and plagues wiped out, persecuted and starved communities, I don't think it's impossible that survivors went feral (both physically and mentally) after years, or even generations of hiding in very remote areas.

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 04:12 PM
reply to post by Bluesma

I do think there's a truth to that, and devoted dog owners often have some resemblance to their pets.

And Jackson Galaxy, who hosts My cat from hell, does resemble a cat in certain ways.

During colonialism and exploration some whites went native, and after some years they were also very difficult to distinguish from the indigenous people.

While there may be many reasons for this, such as exposure to the sun, diet, body paint or mannerisms, they never quite explain everything.

So perhaps empathy and identification can affect physical appearance.

Some also say the same about long-term married couples.
They often start to physically resemble each other.

edit on 11-1-2013 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 04:40 PM
There's also a condition known as Hypertrichosis (Ambras Syndrome).

One non-congenital cause could be starvation or anorexia, although there are different forms, and it's difficult to diagnose from the program, although at least as far as malnourished or starving children in Africa go it is not a commonly visible condition.
I think the villagers would have been well acquainted with this after the civil war if it was present.

This condition in it's strongest form was often thought to be a form of atavism, although when it occurs as a mutation it far exceeds what one would imagine as "hominid" or primate hair growth.
These individuals have rather been referred to as "wolf children", although they are otherwise unaffected.

Nevertheless, it appears humans do have something stored in their genes that might be triggered by certain environments, and this may cause a reverting to hominid hairiness.

As a Caucasian I'm very hairy, but I never was as a child, and I've never had to shave my forehead.

It seems that both the villagers and the doctor in this case regarded the physical changes as having to do with an adaption to the monkeys, or their lifestyle.

Perhaps just like a speech center we also have another center of genes which can be switched on?
Perhaps we have feral genes that can become activated to allow survival in the wilderness?
Maybe some of us can go either way - human society or wilderness?

edit on 11-1-2013 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 05:43 PM
More on feral pigs (any pig gone back to living in the wild), and how they quickly adapt:

"Any pig that gets out can revert back in a matter of months to a state where it can exist in the wild," said Brown. "It will get hairy, grow tusks and get aggressive. They're so good at adapting, and with their scavenging nature, they can get by pretty much anywhere."

Of course a direct comparison between another species and humans would be foolish.
Clearly humans are humans in any culture, and don't simply grow appendages because they've been in the forest for a while.

The circumstances must be pretty unique for even one such change.

We don't know.

I believe the Almasti existed, but they were close enough to humans to interbreed (in the case of Zana).
Not only did she breed with humans, but except for some odd features, the offspring were quite normal.
Well, I'm not sure how "normal" that village was by our standards, but Zana's kids fitted in to society.

Perhaps that's not the case with Bigfoot or the Yeti, who seem far more bulky and different to humans.

Anyhow, I think it's a pretty new way of looking at some of these creatures.
Particularly those from remote Russia and Asia.
Except for the Yeti, they seem far more human in their proportions and activities than the American Bigfoot.

Perhaps, during times of crisis, some humans can "devolve", and rather than being some relic, these remnants were, or are us in a different form.
edit on 11-1-2013 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 07:40 PM
One interesting hypothesis could be that times of prolonged war could heighten the chances of "devolution", or perhaps rather an alternative development along the lines of hominids.

This could happen where war destroys already small communities, and the shock leads human survivors to flee deeply into remote areas, where they lose all touch with other humans, and they are too frightened to continue any sign or semblance of a human culture, or perhaps they are children who have never fully developed a sense of human culture.
A close primate population could well become a copy for a new culture.

This means that humans can move back and forth between modern and hominid states.
Small groups of such "creatures" could become extinct and reappear at various times.

It would be interesting to correlate sightings with wars.
On this point I'm especially reminded of sightings in Vietnam and South East Asia, and these hominids appear very human in stature.

There are places where even peasants were made to live in "nests" and eat wild foods during times of prolonged war.

Most of these rejoined society, but maybe some fled so far that they never came back.

Perhaps culture is what keeps the human primate human, and without it ... well, who knows?

If this is the case, then such creatures would become increasingly rare and extinct after such wars.
Even if mature individuals met and sometimes bred, ultimately it would not be a sustainable population.
Finding feral survivors would become increasingly difficult with every generation after the cause, and this may explain why such elusive creatures fail to appear as a new and sustainable species.

It could also explain why some old village women claim they were kidnapped by "wild men" and spent time as their mates.
These individual wild men could no longer find mates who had developed similar to themselves.

If this were true we could harbor a greater variety of existence within our genetic material than we ever thought possible.

However, in evolutionary terms "going feral" with physical changes could be a very useful adaption for children for when the SHTF, and society is reduced to a few individuals.
Maybe the circumstances require unique factors, but this basic potential of existence is somewhere deep in all of us.
All of the past is stored somewhere for a reason.

edit on 11-1-2013 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 08:41 PM
This idea lends credence to the native american notion that Sasquatch are in fact just hairy people. I've long suspected that clothing has reduced the amount of natural body hair, and a lack of it would result in us becoming more hairy.

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 09:07 PM
After seeing the video behavior of feral children raised by animals,

I'm still convinced schooled children from pre/K in America's biggest cities, are MORE neurotic, wild, loud, vulgar, rude, unintelligible, aggressive, violent and disturbed than these feral children.

Feral children can be tamed, while American delinquents even put thru rehab/correctional school, continue rebellious acts and are more murderous.

Which one's more likely to go on an all out massacre?

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 09:27 PM
reply to post by minnow

Interesting point, and perhaps some others might like to comment, since I cannot make a value judgement on children in another country.

But perhaps, whether children are feral or domesticated, it's always a case of "monkey see, monkey do?"

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 09:35 PM
I've seen the Oxana Malaya story before. It's a big thumbs up to the dogs that took care of her

And thumbs down to the people that abandoned her

It's an amazing story.

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 09:43 PM
reply to post by The Cusp

Fantastic that Sasquatch could be included in my theory.

Of course with Sasquatch one finds a more robust creature, although all these "wild people" appear more similar than different to us.

It could be the same story, just from a much earlier time, and with a greater population.

Maybe they split from humans in prehistory, and evolved further physically for longer than the short, hairy men from the Asian regions.

But ultimately they could still be us in a different form.

An ancient ape called Gigantopithecus once existed in Asia as recently as 100 000 years ago, alongside many hominids.
I think this has something to do with the history of Sasquatch (considering the open migration routes), although it's difficult to say in what sense.
Some say there is direct ancestry, but I'd rather think some early humans filled this niche when Giganto became extinct, and they developed into Sasquatch.

They have a language, and are like people, and have their own culture of hunting and gathering, but they also don't need fire, or some key aspects that all modern humans need.

In that sense they are very much like other wild people.
However, there's a longer history of mutual respect and deliberate distance between humans and Sasquatch.

Wild people in Asia sometimes appear to emerge and hover on the fringes of society, often stealing crops.
They seem to have been outcasts, and driven away as vermin in the past - at times they were even hunted.
edit on 11-1-2013 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 09:57 PM
reply to post by Pedro4077

Thanks for sharing a reminder of this shocking case.

I'm very curious about what happened to Oxana and any updates, and I think she is featured in an episode of the Raised Wild series.

In ancient times such cases were a part of standard myth, such as the founders of Rome who were suckled by a she-wolf.
Images like this really make one wonder how much is "myth".

edit on 11-1-2013 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

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