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Victor of Aveyron
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    (circa 1788-1828)
    Born in France
    Feral child
    Discovered naked in the woods near Saint-Semin-sur-Rance, France (1799)
    Became a case study in Enlightenment debates about human nature
    Physician Jean Itard attempted to 'civilize' him by teaching him language and empathy
    Subject of the Francois Truffaut film 'L'Enfant Sauvage' (1970)
    He escaped several times before being caught for good in 1800.
    He initially tried to flee from other people and would bite if they got too close.
    Despite intense efforts by Itard, he never learned to speak.
    He had a scar on his neck that may have been the result of someone trying to kill him then leaving him for dead in the woods.
    Later scientists who studied Itard's notes think Victor may be the first recorded case of an autistic child.
    Although Itard failed to teach Victor language, he had a breakthrough with empathy: Victor consoled Itard's housekeeper, Madame Guerin, when she was crying over the death of her husband.

Credit: C. Fishel

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