Family may provide evolution clue

By | March 8, 2006

Five siblings from Turkey who walk on all fours could provide science with an insight into human evolution, researchers have said. The four sisters and one brother could yield clues to why our ancestors made the transition from four-legged to two-legged animals, says a UK expert.

But Professor Nicholas Humphrey rejects the idea that there is a “gene” for bipedalism, or upright walking.

A BBC documentary about the family will be shown on Friday 17 March.

Professor Humphrey, from the London School of Economics (LSE), says that our own species’ transition to walking on two feet must have been a more complex process that involved many changes to the skeleton and to the human genetic make-up.

However, a German group says a genetic abnormality does seem to be involved in the siblings’ gait.

Turkish siblings, Passionate Productions/BBC

The siblings may have reverted to an ancient form of locomotion (Image: Passionate Productions/BBC)

Family member, Passionate Productions/BBC

The five quadrupeds grew up in a remote part of Turkey (Image: Passionate Productions/BBC)

BBC

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