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Term used to describe a number of young men and boys who were ‘discovered’ or emerged from remote European forest areas during the 18th century. They were without language and were perceived as animal-like in their behaviours. They were of great interest to philosophers, doctors and intellectuals who were trying to define what constituted a human, and whether language was innate or learnt. Retrospectively it is considered that most probably had a learning disability or other condition and had been abandoned by their families.

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