March 7, 2006

CODED TO CRAWL, WE CHOOSE TO WALK (via Pepys & Brian McKim):

The time-warp family who walk on all fours (BEN FARMER, 3/07/06, Daily Mail)

An extraordinary family who walk on all fours are being hailed as the breakthrough discovery which could shed light on the moment Man first stood upright.

Scientists believe that the five brothers and sisters found in Turkey could hold unique insights into human evolution.

The Kurdish siblings, aged between 18 and 34 and from the rural south, 'bear crawl' on their feet and palms.

Study of the five has shown the astonishing behaviour is not a hoax and they are largely unable to walk otherwise.

Researchers have found a genetic condition which accounts for their extraordinary movement.

And it could provide invaluable information on how humans evolved from a four-legged hominid into a creature walking on two feet.

So walking is simply a matter of intelligent choice.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 7, 2006 2:28 PM

Great. Now I'm all confused again. Is we is or is we ain't evolvin'?

I'll admit not being very good at this whole Evolution Science™ thing. But maybe it's finally sinking in: the "fact" that these people apparently didn't "evolve" is proof that something evolutionists still can't prove happened has actually happened -- only not in their case, because, you see, it didn't happen. Which is why we can be sure it's actually happening. can't be it. Hang on.

Posted by: John Resnick at March 7, 2006 4:43 PM

Genetic atavism. A throwback to an earlier form.

Nothing terribly remarkable here. Such things happen in nature, neither proving nor disproving Darwinism. Whether biological change is randon or whether it is intelligently guided, atavisms are possible.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 7, 2006 5:14 PM

Or people can choose not to walk.

Posted by: oj at March 7, 2006 5:17 PM

It seems clear from the article that these people are genetically different from the rest of us; something (inbreeding, random errors in their DNA, radiation, whatever) caused their DNA to switch off a gene that the rest of us carry in the "on" position, making them physiologically incapable of standing up and walking like everyone else. This is a classic example of mutation, and indicates that standing up was a true evolutionary development, as opposed to a voluntary decision or Lamarckian accomplishment as you propose in your headline and commentary.

If this genetic alteration conferred some advantage, its carriers would experience higher rates of reproduction and/or survival that would eventually make it dominant, and man would thus evolve from bipedal back to quadrupedal locomotion. But it doesn't and we won't.

Posted by: HT at March 7, 2006 5:19 PM


Uh-huh, so they're a different species?

Of course, according to the Times today all the races, at least, are different species:

Posted by: oj at March 7, 2006 5:23 PM

The article says the family lives in isolation - how can we be sure this isn't a learned trait? The inability to stand upright after spending 30+ years crawling around isn't proof that their behavior is related to some ancestral behavior is it? Would you have learned to walk if your parents never walked and never taught you to do so?

The article doesen't say if their skeletal or muscular structure is differently formed, causing them to crawl, it only mentions behavior. If this is cause for celebration in regards to proof of Darwinism then that science is in very poor shape.

Posted by: Shelton at March 7, 2006 5:45 PM

How do we know they aren't the next species and we the inferior?

Posted by: oj at March 7, 2006 6:13 PM

Here it is...PROOF that Intelligent Design is true!

Posted by: HT at March 7, 2006 6:49 PM

Well, that link was supposed to work, but seems to have been edited in the posting process. Here's the link:

Posted by: HT at March 7, 2006 6:51 PM


Intelligent design isn't in any doubt. The only question is whether there's also Intelligent Design and/or Darwinism, neither of which is a scientific theory and neither susceptible to testing.

Posted by: oj at March 7, 2006 6:54 PM

Did you follow the link? I figured out why it didn't work before (typo on my part), so here it is again for those who don't like to cut-and-paste.

Posted by: HT at March 7, 2006 7:09 PM

I don't think these unfortunates are genetic atavars or will shed much light on our ancestors. I doubt our quadrapedal ancestors walked around with their butts so high about their heads (see the photo in the article) -- every quadrapedal primate species I can think of has shorter hind legs and longer arms so they can effectively see their surroundings.

These are just inbred disabled people, no more, no less. I find it amusing that scientists would appeal to such disabilities as evidence of the nature of our ancestors.

Posted by: jd watson [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 7, 2006 9:12 PM


When you've got nothing you sieze on everything.

Posted by: oj at March 7, 2006 9:21 PM