Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Reverse Evolution

An interesting story for our very troubled times. In times of world-wide crippling strife and violence around the world, many a mind can wander to the hallowed halls of simpler times – at times, of eons past. Way eons past. Of times quite unknown to homo sapiens who has made his indelible marks and blazed his labyrinthine trails on this small green dot in the universe no more than 50,000 years ago.

Of times of mental or intellectual simplicities, or call it retardation for after all that is how it is called today. To times of the hominids, not yet then quite adept to walking erect and using hands with the unique opposable thumbs for a myriad of purposes. Purposes, both good and sinister.

The story below seems to tell us that those times are not quite extinct as we all would like to believe. Scientists at present can only say that this may be caused by closely-related parents handing down to their offspring faulty genes causing this evolution throwback, characterized by mental retardation and walking on all fours.

Just think if human hands continue to be specialized primarily for mobility and motility, there necessarily would be less violence inflicted on another’s neighbor using one’s resourceful digits. That would be good. Right?

Ever wondered why the police’s first priority in apprehending any criminal is to cuff the hands?

Just some crazy troubling thoughts.

The time-warp family who walk on all fours
by BEN FARMER, Daily Mail 08:31am 7th March 2006

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.

Two of the daughters and a son have only ever walked on two palms and two feet, but another son and daughter sometimes manage to walk upright.

The five can stand upright, but only for a short time, with both knees and head flexed.

Their remarkable story is told in a television documentary, to be screened next week, which shows scientists studying their movement, but also their struggle to fit in with modern society.

Professor Nicholas Humphrey, evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics, visited the family twice. He said: “It’s amazing as an example of a strange, strange aberration of human development. But their interest is how they can live in the modern world.”

The five are all mentally retarded. Their mother and father, who are closely related are believed to have handed down a unique combination of genes which result in the behaviour.

Some researchers argue the genetic fault has caused the brothers and sisters to regress to a form of ‘backward evolution’. Others believe it has led to brain damage which has allowed them to develop the walk.

Rather than walking on their knuckles, like gorillas or chimpanzees, they walk on the palms of their hands, with their fingers spread upwards.

Scientists believe this may be the way hominids moved to protect their fingers for more delicate movements.

Prof Humphrey said he thought the family had reverted to an instinctive form of behaviour encoded deep in the brain but abandoned during evolution.

He said: “I do not think they were destined to be quadrupeds by their genes, but their unique genetic make-up allowed them to be.

‘It has produced an extraordinary window on our past. It is physically possible, which no one would have guessed from the modern human skeleton.”

Study of their hands has shown they are heavily callused and have been walking like this for years.

Prof Humphrey said: “However they arrived at this point, we have adult human beings walking like ancestors several million years ago.”

The five siblings spend most of their time sitting outside the family’s basic rural home.

However, one brother travels to the local village where he engages in basic interactions with people.

The documentary, to be shown on BBC2 on Friday, March 17, is called The Family That Walks On All Fours.

2 comments:

  1. Wow, interesting. There are good reasons some people should not reproduce. But looking forward I think that the next step in evolution might be in the brain. Note the increase in children being diagnosed with ADD and dyslexia over the last 20 years. It’s a first step in an information age evolution. It’s wrong that doctors use drugs like riddlin as a way to control and repress a thought processes that adults do not understand.

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  2. Yes, Brian, it is such an ominous portent of what man's genes are capable of producing.

    Gathering talks now center on what man can do to break through the technological limits imposed by physical nature.

    Some think that tinkering with DNA may be the key for man to unleash himself from the limits imposed by his own human nature.

    Scary.

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