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   Undertoad  Thursday Mar 9 12:15 PM

3/9/2006: Quadruped humans (and international science)



These people are all from the same inbred family. They aren't playing, this is how they walk. Are they A) spazzes, B) severely mentally handicapped, or C) evidence of backward evolution in humans?

That's the controversy started by Turkish researcher Uner Tan. Tan described the people in the first full story:

Quote:
"The children exhibiting this syndrome originated from a family having 19 children," he wrote in another recent paper, in the journal Neuroquantology. Five of these, aged 14 to 32 years, "walked on two palms and two feet, with extended legs… They could stand up, but only for a short time, with flexed knees and heads."

"The patients had a rather primitive language... they spoke to each other using their own language, using only a few hundred words" which the parents could partly understand, Tan wrote.

"They were mentally retarded; they could not count from one to ten. They were not aware of time and space. For instance, they did not know where they live (which country, which village, which city). They were unaware of year, season, day, and time. Otherwise, they had quite strong legs and arms."
Here's a weird movie clip of one of the woman moving along on all fours.

You would think this is some sort of genetic freakdom. Tan went a step further to say the freakdom might be traceable to one particular gene, which these people were missing. Tan then argued that...
Quote:
the mutation—known to run in one Turkish family—might offer scientists an unprecedented glimpse into human origins.

"This syndrome interestingly exhibits prehuman features" and represents "possible backward evolution," he wrote in a paper describing the condition. As such, it "can be considered a live model for human evolution."
Devolution on display via inbreeding? This prompted some skepticism in the scientific community. But now it's gone a step further (so to speak), as UK researchers working with the BBC to make a documentary have paid the family for exclusive access.

This outraged Tan, who complained that it was misconduct. Then the UK researchers pointed out that it wasn't Tan who found the family first anyway, and called some of Tan's claims "bizarre".

Who's right? Don't know. The last World Science article on the subject says that US genetics researcher Keith Crandall says reverse human evolution is plausible and, more important, testable.

And that, in turn, means that the knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing drooler who sits next to you is not just an uneducatable doof, but evidence of the return of humanity to its genetic origin... the caveman.


Emrikol  Thursday Mar 9 12:55 PM

I'm a sick, sad person.

This is the first thing I thought of:


(If you don't know what this is about)



Pancake Man  Thursday Mar 9 01:27 PM

Em, you aren't the only one.
At first I thought that they just didn't have the mental facilities of a regular person, and they don't, but now that I read about the missing gene....



Happy Monkey  Thursday Mar 9 02:05 PM

Sometimes when I have a dream that someone is chasing me, I dream that I can run much faster on all fours. I wonder if it's some sort of genetic remnant...



Trilby  Thursday Mar 9 02:17 PM

Remember that X-Files episode where the family was all inbred and they had weird mutations? That episode grossed me out. This disturbs me, but it does explain a lot of the men I've dated.



dar512  Thursday Mar 9 02:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brianna
but it does explain a lot of the men I've dated.



Promenea  Thursday Mar 9 02:44 PM

Interesting that they all walk with their palms open and flat unlike apes which tend to knuckle walk.

I bet when they figure it out it is something that simply alters their ability to lock their hips/knees as they swing along two legged. If there is a structural weakness (as opposed to a muscular weakness) the quadraped walking would be the best way to adapt and get around.



Trilby  Thursday Mar 9 03:31 PM

Actually, I've changed my mind about this. It doesn't disturb me, it cheers me up! Think of this: no matter how bad things get things could always be worse. you could be a retarded quadruped in Turkey!



barefoot serpent  Thursday Mar 9 03:45 PM

just keep 'em the hell away from this family



Leah  Thursday Mar 9 05:43 PM




capnhowdy  Thursday Mar 9 07:11 PM

resembles the 'crackhead looking for a smidgen on he carpet' syndrome.
Only runs in one family. Hmmm.....



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Mar 9 07:12 PM

I suppose they'd do it doggie style?



chrisinhouston  Thursday Mar 9 10:11 PM

UT quoted: "The children exhibiting this syndrome originated from a family having 19 children,"

Uhh, maybe that has something to do with it??? Uhh, maybe that has something to do with it??? 19 Children???




seakdivers  Friday Mar 10 01:37 AM

I read one of the many articles about this, and it said that the parents of the numerous children were "closely related".

Ok - this is terrible, but do you think it's possible that in a poor/ inbred family with so many children that the mentally weak ones might emulate the only ones that pay them any attention? (the animals). I can't assume that they were treated as such, but their behavior sure makes you wonder.



tippy  Friday Mar 10 10:20 AM

I view this forum a lot and generally find the pictures fascinating and the general ethos sound and the opinions thoughtful even if I don't agree with them.

I was listening to a report about the difference between this kind of walking on all 4, with wrist flexed, which allows retention of the use of the fingers, whereas walking on your knuckles, like a chimp limits the dexterity of the hand, and so the photograph is interesting as you can see how that actually looks.

However, I find a lot of the language and reference used regarding todays image extemely offensive and ignorant.

Devolution is not evolution in reverse.
No, they did not learn this from copying animals.
Calling people spazzers (and inbred for that matter) is not really a ringing indictment of your own humanity.

I know we are all grown ups and there is such a thing as having a laugh but really have a word with yourselves.



Undertoad  Friday Mar 10 11:16 AM

Tipster, you're reading someone from another culture and some of the subtlety of informal language is lost.

It's funny, you know, I took some time to compose this entry and selected my language carefully in the section you object to most strongly.

If I was standing around with a group of friends, and saw someone walking on all fours in this way, I know what I would say: "Look at that retard!"

But I was recently watching an interview with actor John C. McGinley, whose son was born with Down Syndrome; and McGinley said that it really bothers him to hear people use the term "retard".

That's fair, I thought, and since Mr. McGinley did such a fine job in "Office Space", I was moved to feel that actually using the term "retard" was mean-spirited of me. So: what's another term to use for someone acting strangely to try to get attention? Because when you see strange behavior, half the time it's someone who's actually mentally handicapped, the term I decided to use instead; the other half the time, it's someone pretending to be, or something similar, to get attention.

"Spazz", I thought, has fallen so far from its original derivative that it's fair game. But apparently it has NOT fallen that far in other cultures!

So you see, in writing informally -- purposefully outside of journalistic style -- you always risk that someone will find your approach rude.

OK. Your other beefs, however, are merely incorrect.

"inbred" is precisely what the family is; that's how the different genes wind up expressing themselves.

"devolution", if it really is a word, is the take of the researchers:

Quote:
While Humphrey may be dealing with a misconduct claim, Tan is on the defensive for another reason: his science. He has raised controversial hypotheses on the syndrome—that it represents "backward evolution" or "devolution," and other still more unusual concepts—provoking deep skepticism, even ridicule.
Lastly, a certain amount of mean-spiritedness may actually be required for the sake of humanity. Taboos such as against incest are handed down as important legends through the years. This is probably partly because there is a psychobiological component, but could be because it enables the improvement and survival of the human species through genetic diversity.


david  Friday Mar 10 12:47 PM

benefits of quadrupedalism reconsidered

Personally, I find this story fascinating. I am a dance instructor at a prestigious American university. Because I am also a rock climber, I became interested in how moving with all four "legs" might be helpful to our general strength and coordination. Initial results suggest that for normal, non-mentally handicapped individuals, spending time quadrupedally seems to really improve overall movement ability because it requires that all the limbs work in a mutually coordinated, sequential pattern, connected by the torsos core musculature. Also, we know that in early childhood development, crawling is crucial to development of higher intellect. It is not clear to me that what is good for the child ceases to be beneficial for adults (and by my estimations, most adults are not all that well coordinated). In other words, perhaps we could all benefit from choosing to move this way now and then, whether on the ground, on rocks, or just a good old fashioned tree climb!

I think it is interesting that people are focussing on the retardation as somehow being related, and maybe it is in this case. But the unfortunate thing about that is that people will think that it is regressive or retarded to even think about moving as a four-legged being.

In this threaded discussion, I find it most fascinating that people just seem to want or need to ridicule these folks on a number of fronts. As a dance instructor, I am used to people being easily provoked by unusual movement. It seems to not take much deviation from a pretty narrow, standard movement range to make people uncomfortable, even angry. (if you don't believe me, try it sometime in public--experiment with the line between normal and abnormal and see what kind of response you get!)
It is like an instinctive repulsion response to need to vilify someone who moves unusually. Could be left over animal responses--in a heard scenario, most blend in not wanting to draw special attention, like a kind of anonymity camaflouge. If one animal in the heard is wounded, it will have different movement patterns that will single it out visually to a predator as the most likely target. Maybe we have this built in instinct to distance ourselves from the odd one as a self-protective measure.
Also, in most of the discussion, It doesn't seem to occur to anyone that for the rest of us, who do have the gene for bipedalism, and aren't also mentally retarded, that the choice to move either bipedally or quadrupedally is even better than bipedalism alone. Not to mention that it might be good for our upright postural coordination to spend some time on all four.



Promenea  Friday Mar 10 02:56 PM

I wonder if the apparent retardation is reinforced because these kids start to move around and lose much of their ability to come face to face with those that walk or stand upright. If you aren't face to face do you get all the nuances of language?



Trilby  Friday Mar 10 03:20 PM

I spend a lot of my time on all fours.

evolution that.



capnhowdy  Friday Mar 10 03:53 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brianna
I spend a lot of my time on all fours.

evolution that.

Great post, David... I really enjoyed it.


Trilby  Friday Mar 10 03:55 PM

i'm not david.



Clodfobble  Friday Mar 10 03:57 PM

I think capnhowdy was just being efficient, combining two reactions into a single post.



capnhowdy  Friday Mar 10 04:21 PM

exactly......sorry.



busterb  Friday Mar 10 06:29 PM

Looks like some folks have confused the IDoD with some scientific journal! Hey if your want the real deal, watch cnn, fox or what's his name. @#$%. Well Tippy and david with your great first post, BTW are you both any kin of dov?



barefoot serpent  Friday Mar 10 06:51 PM

Jocko Homo -- DEVO
They tell us that
We lost our tails
Evolving up
From little snails
I say it’s all
Just wind in sails
Are we not men?
We are devo!
We’re pinheads now
We are not whole
We’re pinheads all
Jocko homo
Are we not men?
D-e-v-o
Monkey men all
In business suit
Teachers and critics
All dance the poot
Are we not men?
We are devo!
Are we not men?
D-e-v-o
God made man
But he used the monkey to do it
Apes in the plan
We’re all here to prove it
I can walk like an ape
Talk like an ape
I can do what a monkey can do
God made man
But a monkey supplied the glue
We must repeat
O.k. let’s go!



xoxoxoBruce  Friday Mar 10 07:21 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Promenea
I wonder if the apparent retardation is reinforced because these kids start to move around and lose much of their ability to come face to face with those that walk or stand upright. If you aren't face to face do you get all the nuances of language?
One of the articles said the kids (siblings) that first exhibited this type of behavior, spoke in a unique language that only they could understand. The parents could only understand about half of what was said.
You may be correct in that the afflicted were getting "face time" only with each other.

Seems most parents would at least attempt to get the children to walk "normally" and most children would attempt to mimic their parents. Therefore, it would appear, their method of locomotion is physically restricted and not simply choice

After reading what the "experts" had to say, it appears they can't agree on the cause/effect, so it's not likely we're going to do any better.

Tippy & david, welcome and thanks for adding your two cents.


david  Saturday Mar 11 02:00 AM

how about quadrumanualism??

Oh and by the way, while you are busy out there experimenting with how to walk on your hands (and I know at least some of you have tried it yourself since hearing about this story--how was it?) you can also try using your legs and feet to do arm and hand things!

Just use all your limbs more versatally--that would be r-evolutionary.



tippy  Monday Mar 13 06:24 AM

Good and fair reply. However:

OK. Your other beefs, however, are merely incorrect.

"inbred" is precisely what the family is; that's how the different genes wind up expressing themselves.

"devolution", if it really is a word, is the take of the researchers:

devolution
noun [u]
the moving of power or responsibility from a main organization to a lower level, or from a central government to a regional government.

(I should know, I live in a devolved country, it deosn't mean we evolved backwards, no matter what people say! ;-))

the opposite of evolution if it did exist would be de-evolution, or, as it actually is: regression "to return to a previous and less advanced or worse state, condition or way of behaving."

not that I want to be pedantic or anything;-)



tippy  Monday Mar 13 06:25 AM

Soz. missed the quotes in that last post linesd 2-5 are a quote :"> otherwise it just don't make sense.



johningerslev  Monday Mar 13 12:08 PM

i love watching you all.

just wanted to say.



Bitman  Monday Mar 13 04:42 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by david
Oh and by the way, while you are busy out there experimenting with how to walk on your hands
I'd like to try it myself (someplace where I won't get made fun of) but I'm more curious about running on all fours. Could you go faster than running on twos?


glatt  Monday Mar 13 04:48 PM

I often go up the stairs in my house on all fours. They are fairly steep, and I can go up them much more quickly that way. Almost at a run.



mlandman  Monday Mar 13 04:57 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emrikol
I'm a sick, sad person.

This is the first thing I thought of:


(If you don't know what this is about)
MP fans are bad enough, please don't tell me that picture is of some kids over the age of 14 trying to re-enact the skit in a public place.


capnhowdy  Monday Mar 13 06:36 PM

Looks like the UK version of the Blues Brothers.



xoxoxoBruce  Monday Mar 13 07:35 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitman
I'd like to try it myself (someplace where I won't get made fun of) but I'm more curious about running on all fours. Could you go faster than running on twos?
Maybe, if you can learn to gallop.


Bitman  Wednesday Mar 15 01:51 PM

OK, I spent a few seconds playing with this. Walking was mildly interesting, though my head doesn't tilt back far enough, and it hurts my wrists.

Galloping shows promise, but would need much more practice, and a decent amount of arm strength. And lots of stamina. Sucks being a computer nerd. Might be an interesting trick to learn, though.



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Mar 15 08:39 PM

Code:
Might be an interesting trick to learn, though
Handy for crossing the theater without annoying people or checking for an empty stall.


wolf  Wednesday Mar 15 10:46 PM

I think that the guy studying this family isn't studying enough, or rather, quite the right thing.

It's no big surprise that a family, particularly one that seems to be, uh, a little more closely genetically linked than most families. I think that's only part of the story.

What would happen if one of the family members with the genetic anomaly were raised in isolation from the family? WOuld they still show the all fours walking behavior, or would they walk upright? Are the skeletal deformities the result of the genetic defect (nature) or are they the consequence of only ever walking on all fours from childhood/infancy (nuture)?

I think the smart money's on nurture.

If someone would give me a sufficiently large research grant, I would be happy to test my hypothesis.

Oh, and I'll need to borrow an infant for a couple of years ... must be genetically sound, as I'll be swapping it for one of their offspring.



dar512  Thursday Mar 16 10:47 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce
Code:
Might be an interesting trick to learn, though
Handy for crossing the theater without annoying people or checking for an empty stall.
Ewwww walking on your hands in a public bathroom? Hey, maybe this is the real reason we started walking upright.

"I'm not lettin' you groom me with those filthy hands. You learn to walk upright like Ug does."


david  Sunday Mar 19 08:08 AM

running on all fours

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitman
OK, I spent a few seconds playing with this. Walking was mildly interesting, though my head doesn't tilt back far enough, and it hurts my wrists.

Galloping shows promise, but would need much more practice, and a decent amount of arm strength. And lots of stamina. Sucks being a computer nerd. Might be an interesting trick to learn, though.

Yes, there are a couple "bipedalism" issues here. since we are evolved primarily for upright walking, the eyes are situated accordingly. in four legged animals the eyes are positioned where the top of our head would be. So most people do struggle with the head pulling back, which not only hurts the neck, but also robs strength of the arms and thrust from the legs. So to really feel it work better one needs to think of sending the top of the head forward as if you could see through the top of the head.
and since you havn't been doing this your whole life, your wrist bones aren't developed for that kind of weight or flexion. apes of course walk on knuckles, which you can see is preferable for the wrist angle, but again, one would have to develop a different kind of bone structure to support the weight there.

I am aware of a young girl of about 12 in my city who apparently has been running on all fours her whole life. She can and does walk upright when socially appropriate, she is not retarded or inbred. but for her own fun and preference, she just loves running on all four--she is apparently quite fast at it.


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