“He’s a feral child. No mother, no father, no one to care for him or raise him or teach him how to be human. So he’s existed much like an animal, without language. He thinks in images, not word.”

–Rodman Philbrick,

The Last Book in the Universe

 

An anthropologist from the Basque country called Jean-Claude Auger was travelling alone across the Spanish Sahara in 1960 when he met some Nemadi nomads who told him about a wild child a day’s journey away. The next day, he followed the nomads’ directions and in a few hours saw a naked child “galloping in gigantic bounds among a long cavalcade of white gazelles”. The boy walked on all fours, but occasionally assumed an upright gait, suggesting to Auger that he was abandoned or lost at about seven or eight months, having already learnt to stand. He habitually twitched his muscles, scalp, nose and ears, much like the rest of the herd, in response to the slightest noise. He would eat desert roots with his teeth and appeared to be herbivorous apart from the occasional agama lizard or worm when plant life was lacking. His teeth edges were level like those of a herbivorous animal. In 1966 an unsuccessful attempt was made to catch the boy in a net suspended from a helicopter; unlike most of the feral children, the Syrian gazelle boy was never removed from his wild companions.