The Family That Walks On All Fours

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Picture Credit: ©BBC 2006 Words by Frank Think

A documentary, ‘The Family That Walks On All Fours,’ is a moving thought provoking film about five siblings who live in Ulas, Turkey. Of the 19 children by the same parents the five grown up siblings were found to walk using both arms and legs as they were unable to walk as most bipedal humans. Bipedalism is generally recognised as one of the traits that helps define us as being human. Early fossil records evidence walking upright occurred before tool use, the use of language or brain development so when it was discovered these siblings walk in a quadruped gait is caused a great deal of interest in the scientific and religious communities.

For scientists it raised the question of was there a genetic leap in human development and could this genetic leap be reversed. Scientists were interested in discovering if we still carry genes that can resurface and to what extent can these genes reappear in future generations. Or is this family just a case of a brain damage disability carried within the family considering the mother gave birth to 19 children, 6 of whom were born within a 5 year period, and they did not get the nurturing needed for children with disabilities.

For the religious community that adhere to creationism, it questions the power of God and the rejection of humans evolving from animals. Many Christians and Muslims stick to the belief that God created humankind specifically through intent and will, and reject the science based evolutionary theory that humankind developed in response to environmental conditions. The Turkish Ulas community, religious and government, rejected the suggestion that humans evolved from animals as it is seen as an insult to their religious and nationalist beliefs.

Regardless of the arguments presented by the scientific or religious communities the over riding question is how we view human dignity and associated rights as this is of over riding concern beyond scientific fact, religious belief or cultural expectations.

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