Walking on all fours: Turkish Family’s behaviour baffles scientiststext_fields
A family in Turkey has left scientists baffled as they delve into the evolution of human locomotion.
Among the members of the Ulas family, a few of them exhibit a unique behaviour of walking on all fours, a trait which had not been previously observed in mature adults.
This extraordinary behaviour was first documented in a 2006 BBC documentary titled 'The Family That Walks on All Fours'. The documentary showcased family members using their palms in a manner akin to a "bear crawl".
To study this phenomenon further, a scientific paper has been published to provide details about the family's condition.
The BBC quoted Professor Humphrey, from the London School of Economics (LSE), as saying that four sisters and one brother belonging to the Ulas family were born with the unusual trait.
He suggested that this peculiarity could offer valuable clues to why our ancestors made the transition from a four-legged to the two-legged mode of movement during human evolution.
Unfortunately, a sixth family member, who shared this characteristic, has passed away.
"I never expected that even under the most extraordinary scientific fantasy modern human beings could return to an animal state," Professor Humphrey said on 60 Minutes Australia.
"The thing which marks us off from the rest of the animal world is the fact that we're the species which walks on two legs and holds our heads high in the air," he explained.
"Of course, it's language and all other sorts of things too, but it's terribly important to our sense of ourselves as being different from others in the animal kingdom. These people cross that boundary," added the expert.
A study by researchers at Liverpool University said that the children at the centre of the study had skeletons with more resemblance to apes than humans and a shrunken cerebellum, according to the New York Post.
Professor Humphrey later said that a physiotherapist and specialised equipment were used to help the family members transition to walking on two feet, which led to significant improvements in mobility.