This is a recent example of a feral child. In Uganda, a young boy fled to the jungle after witnessing the murder of his mother. There, he says he was befriended by monkeys who fed him and kept him alive. Over a year later, villagers rescued the boy by pulling him from a tree.

The BBC went to Uganda to interview the boy, who is named John, for a television series called Living Proof. They took with them Douglas Candland, director of Bucknell’s animal behavior program, a primate expert and author of the book Feral Children and Clever Animals: Reflections on Human Nature. They wanted Candland to determine whether the boy's account of living with monkeys was true. John, through a translator, repeated his story for the British cameras. "“I stayed in the middle forest,” John related. “I saw monkeys, and they came over to me. They gave me bananas and cassava roots … The monkeys used to love me. We played together all of the time. It is how I remember it, and it is the truth.”. Candland asked John to identify the type of monkey he was adopted by from a set of pictures. John did so with no problem, which was quite convincing to Candland, as some species vary only in hair color, and even a specialist could have trouble identifying the right picture. Candland also took John to the Uganda Wildlife Education Center where green monkeys (the monkeys who took John in) scamper freely. He wanted to see how John interacted with the monkeys a decade after supposedly being raised by them. John began playing with the monkeys, but not making eye contact, which in the monkey world would be a sign of aggression. He moved his hands in a way that was non-threatening. “John seemed to be reacting to the animals as if he understood what their next move would be if he did certain things,” Candland says. “He knows a lot about vervet monkeys. How he acquired that knowledge none of us has any way of knowing.”.

Was John actually adopted by green monkeys and kept alive for a year in the Ugandan jungle? Probably only John truly knows the answer to that question.

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