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Old 03-07-2006, 11:58 AM   #1
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turkish family walks on all fours -- a window into evolution

[q]Walking on all fours with the ancestors
By Sam Lister

FIVE brothers and sisters who can only walk naturally on all fours are being hailed as a unique insight into human evolution, after being found in a remote corner of rural Turkey.
Scientists believe that the family may provide invaluable information on how Man evolved from a four-legged hominid to develop the ability to walk on two feet more than three million years ago.

A genetic abnormality, which may prevent the siblings, aged 18 to 34, from walking upright, has been identified.

The discovery of the Kurdish family in southern Turkey last July has triggered a fierce debate. Two daughters and a son have only ever walked on two palms and two feet, with their extended legs, while another daughter and son occasionally manage a form of two-footed walking. The five can stand up, but only for a short time, with both knees and head flexed.

Some researchers claim that genetic faults have caused the siblings to regress in a form of “backward evolution”. Other scientists argue more strongly that their genes have triggered brain damage that has allowed them to develop the unique form of movement.

But all agree that the family’s walk, described as a “bear crawl”, may offer invaluable information on how our ape-like ancestors moved. Rather than walking on their knuckles like gorillas and chimpanzees, the family are “wrist walkers”, using their palms like heels with their fingers angled up from the ground.

Scientists believe this may be the way hominids moved, allowing them to protect their fingers for the more delicate and dextrous manoeuvres so critical in the evolution of Man.



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Old 03-07-2006, 12:20 PM   #2
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Old 03-07-2006, 03:12 PM   #3
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Old 03-07-2006, 05:27 PM   #4
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Funny. I was just reading about "feral children" (children raised by animals, rather than humans; rare, but happens when children are lost) a day before this. They are excellent cases of how much of human behavior is culturally determined and how much is instinctive.

It also directly contradicts the idea that shame of nakedness is natural, as according to the book of Genesis with Adam and Eve. More than one discovered feral child hated wearing clothes and was happier naked. And one case in the 19th century involved a feral child who loved to play in the snow completely naked, which then made people theorize that measurements of what's hot and cold are conditioned, rather than biological.

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