BY AGENCY REPORTER
Turkish siblings moving on all fours, baffle scientists Walking on all fours might be fun for some, but for the members of one Turkish family, it’s the only way to move around, according to the BBC. Five siblings of the 19-member Ulas family, from Hatay Province, suffer from a rare disability – they lack the balance and stability required to stand up straight, forcing them to move on all four limbs.
The family, who were first discovered in 2005, featured in a BBC documentary film the following year. The film revealed that of the five siblings, two sisters and a brother have only walked on all fours since birth. Another brother and sister sometimes manage to walk upright. “It’s amazing as an example of a strange, strange aberration of human development,” said Professor Nicholas Humphrey, who visited the family twice during the documentary. “But their interest is how they can live in the modern world.”
As a result of the disorder, the siblings are often ridiculed. However, the family has found a way round their ordeal by letting the sisters remain indoors most of the time, spending their time crocheting. One of the brothers, on the other hand, is more adventurous – he travels to the local village and interacts with other people.
According to the film, a popular explanation for their unusual walk – similar to the movement of primates – was ‘reverse evolution’. Many scientists believed that the siblings were living proof that it is possible for humans to devolve. “I do not think they were destined to be quadrupeds by their genes, but their unique genetic make-up allowed them to be.” said Professor Humphrey. [eap_ad_1] “It has produced an extraordinary window on our past. It is physically possible, which no one would have guessed from the modern human skeleton. So scientists now believe that the gait could be a byproduct of a hereditary condition that causes cerebellar hypoplasia, which disturbs their sense of balance. The siblings may have developed quadrupedalism in order to adapt to the rare condition known as Uner Tan syndrome, named after the Turkish evolutionary biologist who first studied them.
Well, it seems that while scientists are busy finding theories to explain the rare condition, there is no real cure in sight. The Ulas siblings will probably have to walk this way for the rest of their lives.