Walking on all fours with the ancestorshttp://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2072832,00.htmlFamily Walks on all Fours, May Offer Evolution Insight, Experts Say http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/03/0308_060308_all_fours.htmlBecoming Human: Paleoanthropology, Evolution and Human Origins[Macromedia Flash Player]http://www.becominghuman.org/Understanding Evolution [Macroemedia Flash Player, pdf]http://evolution.berkeley.edu/The Paleoanthropology Society [pdf]http://www.paleoanthro.org/Over the past few years, a group of scholars from a number of institutions (including the London School of Economics) have been researching a rather unusual family living in Turkey. Based on their observations, it would appear that all five siblings in this family walk on all fours almost exclusively as a form of ambulation. The family may in fact reveal important information about how previous hominids made the transition from four-legged to two-legged animals. All of the siblings appear to have been born with a form of brain damage, which affects both balance and coordination. Professor Humphrey from the London School of Economics has noted that these siblings put their weight on the wrists as they move about, as opposed to chimpanzees and gorillas, who walk on their knuckles. Humphrey also remarked that, “These kids have kept their fingers very agile, for example, the girls in the family can do crochet and embroidery.” Scientists continue to study the family as they may represent an important step in the transition to bipedalism utilized by modern-day humans. The first link will take users to a news story from the BBC that talks about the recent research on this family in Turkey. The second link leads to another piece of reporting from The Times, which discusses the cultural and genetic influences, which may have played a role in this family’s particular adaptation. The third link leads to a very good piece from the National Geographic online news service, which also contains links to a number of evolution-related stories. The fourth link whisks users to a fine site, which provides an interactive introduction to the nature of paleoanthropology, offered by Arizona State University. The fifth link leads to a site that provides high-quality information about evolution. Designed by a team of scholars at the University of California-Berkeley, visitors can peruse this site to learn about evidence for evolution and the impact of evolution more generally. The final link leads to the homepage of The Paleoanthropology Society, where visitors can learn about their work and also peruse back issues of their fine journal.


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