I’m a country boy, born and bred; I grew up living right at the edge of the woods, where we frequently had deer and coyotes traipsing through our yard. My mother told stories of the night—I was too young at that time to remember it—when a bear got into the chickenhouse, and a neighbor once saw a bona fide cryptid run past my bedroom window while I lay asleep inside. (But that’s a story for another time.) We had all kinds of animals, including hogs. All this serves as preamble to establish that my knowledge of porcines is qualified. Now here’s the thing about hogs I wanted to convey: If you let one go free, no matter how long it has lived in captivity, no matter if it was hand-raised and fed with a baby bottle, once in the wilderness, it changes.
The pig will grow thick hair where before it had none. It will sprout tusks. In time, its personality will change. It will become more aggressive, possibly even dangerous. Living the wild life, it becomes a wild animal, a throwback to its feral ancestors. Something about being in the wilderness does that to the animal. I mention this because, reading this fascinating linked-to article, about a family that fled into the Russian taiga to escape Communism in the early 20th century, makes me wonder, is the same thing true of humans? Given enough time in isolation, in the wild, do we revert to the savage beasts from which we sprang? Would this gentle family’s descendents have become savages?