Case in Point: Tarzan of
Historical. Feral man and noble savages have been topics of fascination for as long as the human race has attributed to itself the characteristic of civilization. 1 Noble savage is the newer of the concepts, which tend to overlap. Feral individuals, especially wild children, have been reported with surprising frequency and are of intense interest to psychology and anthropology for what they can tell us of ourselves as individuals and as a social animal.
The concept of feral is a specific one. Historically (and legally), three kinds of animals have generally been recognized: wild, domestic, and feral. There is little difficulty in recognition of domesticated animals, but the distinction between wild and feral can become blurred. The significant difference lies in the basic nature of the species to which the individual belongs. No member of a wild species can be feral, although individuals can be domesticated. In contrast, only individuals of a domestic species can revert to the wild and thus become feral.