Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Raised by monkeys?

I was recently asked for my opinion about the curious case of Marina Chapman, a lady from rural Columbia, now living in Bradford, who claims to have spent many formative years in the company of capuchin monkeys. You may have seen this article from the Guardian earlier this year, or even read her autobiography, 'The Girl with No Name'. I was asked if there was any evidence on Marina's bones that might corroborate her claims. I was given access to a couple of radiographs of her knee to look at. Now, I need to make it clear that I am not able to confirm or deny whether Marina was 'brought up by monkeys' per se; but I was able to identify some Harris lines on the x-rays of her tibia and femur, which can be an indication that she suffered a couple of short episodes of malnutrition in her childhood. I would have liked to have seen photos of her dentition (or a chance to examine them)to look for enamel hypoplasia, which may also indicate periods of vitamin deficiency or malnutrition during early years. I'll leave it up to you to decide whether you think this skeletal evidence means that she was raised by monkeys or not... Look out for the documentary from Blink Films coming soon to the Discovery Channel to help you make up your mind!

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