A Family That Walks on All Fours

An article in Phys Org caught my attention because it refers to a BBC documentary from 2006 in which it was claimed that a family from Turkey had reverted to walking on all fours and was de-evolving. I remember when that documentary made headlines throughout the evolutionary community, and I quietly sighed at how easily people have been indoctrinated into believing evolution- even in the absence of scientific evidence. At the time I understood that evolution played no part in the matter, and that the family was walking on all fours due to a condition. But that didn’t stop the evolutionary claims… at least not until now.

Liza Shapiro, an anthropologist at The University of Texas at Austin, now says that the family walks on all fours because they can’t walk upright (kind of sounds obvious, huh?). In other words, these people have adapted to their condition, and this is not an example of backward evolution.

Several members of this Turkish family have a condition known as Uner Tan Syndrom (UTS), and people with this condition were considered to be examples of reverse evolution and supposedly offered new insights into how humans transitioned from walking on all fours to walking on two legs.

But new research specifically disproves claims that this type of walking on all fours resembles nonhuman primates. The study compared and analyzed various four-legged walking patterns of healthy humans, humans with UTS, apes, and other nonhuman primates, and the results demonstrate that the Turkish family members who walk on all fours can be explained by “biomechanical principles rather than evolutionary assumptions,” according to Shapiro. It turns out that 98 percent of the total strides examined in human subjects demonstrate lateral sequences, whereas apes and other nonhuman primates walked in a diagonal sequence.

In addition, the research demonstrates that the previous research done by Uner Tan- a neurophysiologist at Cukurova University in Adana, Turkey- misidentified the walking patterns of people with UTS by concluding that people with this condition had primate-like walking patterns.

I think this study highlights a number of problems with evolutionary thinking. Because some scientists believe in evolution, they see the world through this narrow lens, and every change that diverges from the norm is considered an example evolution; there’s very little discernment as to whether or not evolution should even be evoked. And there’s definitely no thought as to whether or not evolution is even possible. It’s simply assumed, and this article shows the error of such assumptions.

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