March 8, 2006

Cousin Marriage in Action?

The Times of London (not necessarily the most reliable source for science news) claims:

Walking on all fours with the ancestors
By Sam Lister

FIVE brothers and sisters who can only walk naturally on all fours are being hailed as a unique insight into human evolution, after being found in a remote corner of rural Turkey.

Scientists believe that the family may provide invaluable information on how Man evolved from a four-legged hominid to develop the ability to walk on two feet more than three million years ago.

A genetic abnormality, which may prevent the siblings, aged 18 to 34, from walking upright, has been identified.

The discovery of the Kurdish family in southern Turkey last July has triggered a fierce debate. Two daughters and a son have only ever walked on two palms and two feet, with their extended legs, while another daughter and son occasionally manage a form of two-footed walking. The five can stand up, but only for a short time, with both knees and head flexed.

Some researchers claim that genetic faults have caused the siblings to regress in a form of “backward evolution”. Other scientists argue more strongly that their genes have triggered brain damage that has allowed them to develop the unique form of movement.

Assuming this isn't a hoax (which is certainly possible), it looks like another case of Middle Eastern cousin marriage in action:

The siblings, who live with their parents and 13 other brothers and sisters, are mentally retarded, as a result of a form of cerebellar ataxia — an underdevelopment of the brain similar to that in cystic fibrosis. Their mother and father, who are themselves closely related, are believed to have passed down a unique combination of genes resulting in the behaviour.

A quick check of the invaluable finds that the three studies of Kurdish populations all show that about 3/8ths of their marriages are between first or second cousins.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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