Developing Intelligence

Feral Child Discovered

The media is currently blowing up with reports that a 27-year-old woman who disappeared in the forests of Cambodia has now been found, 18-20 years later (reports vary). She was spotted on January 13th by a villager who saw a “jungle person, sneaking in to steal his rice,” and was subsequentely identified as Rochom P’ngieng by a scar on her arm.

Reports suggest that she does not speak the local language, although she does communicate with gestures: she pats her stomach to indicate she is hungry.

Her father said that she initially resisted the wearing of clothes and use of chopsticks, and although she appeared eager to return to the jungle, she has more recently started “cooperating.” Police described her as “half-human and half-animal,” and her father said “When I saw her, she was naked and walking in a bending-forward position like a monkey… She was bare bones skinny. She was shaking and picking up grains of rice from the ground to eat. Her eyes were red like tigers’ eyes.” Her hair is down to her knees.

Other feral children have been discovered throughout history, though relatively few cases bear sufficient similarity to extrapolate about Rochom P’ngieng’s chances for reintegration with human society. Based on reports that she disappeared at around 8 years old, and presuming she had not been neglected prior to that, my guess is that she will regain proficient (and possibly fluent) speech.


  1. #1 MoonShadow
    January 29, 2007

    wow….this presents a nice opportunity for psychologists to track the development of someone who tries to reintegrate into society after the teen age. Perhaps we this can be an opportunity to distinguish how environment and innate ability interact to help her reintegrate into society.

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