Book about woman raised by monkeys

Last fall, I posted about Marina Chapman of Braford, England who claims that as a young girl she was raised by monkeys. Chapman says that when she was four-year-old, she was kidnapped from her Colombia home and dumped in the jungle where she spent five years in the care of capuchin monkeys. Eventually, hunters found her and swapped her at a brothel for a parrot. Chapman, now in her early 60s, has written a new book about her experience. It's titled "The Girl With No Name: The Incredible True Story of a Child Raised by Monkeys." From The Guardian:


In one of the most memorable sections of the book, she describes how she got terrible food poisoning from tamarind, and thought she was going to die. She was writhing in agony when an elderly monkey, which she now calls Grandpa, led her to muddy water. She drank the water, vomited and began to recover. After that, she says, the young monkeys befriended her. Marina observed them closely, and learned from them: how to climb trees, what was safe to eat, how to clean herself. She soon discovered that if she stood underneath monkeys carrying armfuls of bananas, they would inevitably drop a couple, and if she was quick enough she could grab them for herself. Over time, she says, the monkeys allowed her to sit in the trees with them. When they were away looking for food, she'd become lonely and would anxiously await their return…

Marina is sure she wouldn't have survived without the monkeys – thought to be capuchins, which are known to be well disposed towards humans. It was only when they "adopted" her that she began to feel a sense of hope. Did they mother her? "They were just tolerating at first. They don't really love you. One day one of the younger ones landed on my shoulders, and if you've never been hugged in your life, and this animal climbs over your shoulders and puts their hands on your face, I tell you it's the nicest touch." She smiles.

The Girl With No Name: The Incredible True Story of a Child Raised by Monkeys (Amazon)

"Was Marina Chapman really brought up by monkeys?" (The Guardian)


  1. One of the most influential stories I ever read as a kid- _The Trap_ by Howard Fast, begins with this kind of story, then takes it in a weird science fiction direction.

     On the one hand, this seems like it has to be an urban legend, the kind of thing that people make up to get attention. OTOH, wouldn’t it be wonderful if the difference between human and animal was as arbitrary as the difference between Basque and Ainu? (as random an example as I can come up with)

    1. I, too, was touched by “The Trap”, and recommend it to all my friends, regardless of what species raised them.

    2. Thanks so much for mentioning Fast’s short story. I just gave it a read through, and it’s given me rather a lot to think about.

  2. Isn’t it interesting that the cover of the book omits one word from the title of the amazon page?

    1. Look at the cover shown at  The missing word in the subtitle is there.

      There are other intriguing differences between the covers of what I take it  is the US edition at and the UK edition at  Hmm.

  3. Reading through the guardian article, it’s clear that the subtitle of the book might have been slightly exagerated. She wasn’t raised by monkeys. She spend 5 years from age 5 to 10 living in the company of monkeys.

    She was bigger than any of those monkeys. Adults are only 12-22 inches in length. Lifespan averages 15-25 years. Maturity is reached in 4 years for females and 8 for males.

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