Sunday, March 12, 2006
"Their affliction is like something out of a Victorian freak show. They crawl on hands and feet like animals, but with the swift agility of circus gymnasts. Their speech is a primitive babble.
But scientists believe these siblings from a Turkish family, apparently condemned to walk on all fours by a combination of birth defects, genetic damage and lack of medical care in infancy, may offer startling clues to the process of human evolution – and the days when our apelike ancestors first began to walk upright.
The Ulas family, who live in a remote Kurdish area of south-eastern Turkey, are the subject of a controversial new BBC program that features film footage of five brothers and sisters 'bear crawling' on their hands and feet.
And a Turkish scientist quoted by the program goes so far as to claim that the family are some kind of 'missing link' to our pre-human ancestors." [Uner Tan]