Human quadrupeds discovered in Turkey
The discovery of a Turkish family that walks on all fours could aid research into the evolution of humans, scientists said on Tuesday.Updated: Mar 08, 2006 12:09 IST
The discovery of a Turkish family that walks on all fours could aid research into the evolution of humans, scientists said on Tuesday. Researchers believe the five brothers and sisters, who can walk naturally only on all fours, may provide new information on how humans evolved from four-legged hominids to walk upright.
Nicholas Humphrey, evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics, said the discovery opened “an extraordinary window on our past”. “I do not think they were designed to be quadrupeds by their genes, but their unique genetic make-up allowed them to be,” he said.
“It has produced an extraordinary window on our past. It is physically possible, which no one would have guessed from the modern human skeleton.” The siblings, the subject of a new BBC documentary to be aired on March 17, suffer from a genetic abnormality that may prevent them from walking upright.
Instead, they use their palms like heels with their fingers sticking up from the ground. All five are mentally retarded and have problems with language as a result of a form of underdevelopment of the brain known as cerebellar ataxia.
However said their behaviour may be partly the result of their parents tolerating the behaviour in childhood.
First Published: Mar 08, 2006 12:09 IST