This is freaky-deaky:
An editor of a noted scientific journal says he has discovered a genetic defect that seems to set back the clock on human evolution by more than a million years.
The researcher, Uner Tan of Cukurova University Medical School in Adana, Turkey, has posted an online video clip of an affected woman walking on all fours, her face blurred.
The idea that evolution can run backward isn’t new; some scientists say there have been confirmed cases of it in animals. But it’s also a controversial subject, and considered hard to prove in any given case.
Tan, at any rate, argued that this could be a case of it, so the mutation—known to run in one Turkish family—might offer scientists an unprecedented glimpse into human origins.
“This syndrome interestingly exhibits prehuman features” and represents “possible backward evolution,” he wrote in a paper describing the condition. As such, it “can be considered a live model for human evolution.”
The paper appears in the March issue of the International Journal of Neuroscience, where Tan sits on the editorial board. He also named the condition after himself: Unertan syndrome.
The mutation could shed light on the “transition from quadrupedality to bipedality”—from four-legged to two-legged walking, he wrote. Possibly more important, he added, it may illuminate the evolution of the mind.
“The children exhibiting this syndrome originated from a family having 19 children,” he wrote in another recent paper, in the journal Neuroquantology. Five of these, aged 14 to 32 years, “walked on two palms and two feet, with extended legs… They could stand up, but only for a short time, with flexed knees and heads.”
“The patients had a rather primitive language… they spoke to each other using their own language, using only a few hundred words” which the parents could partly understand, Tan wrote.
“They were mentally retarded; they could not count from one to ten. They were not aware of time and space. For instance, they did not know where they live (which country, which village, which city). They were unaware of year, season, day, and time. Otherwise, they had quite strong legs and arms.”
“The sitting posture was rather similar to an ape,” Tan added. “They could not hold their heads upright; the heads were flexed forward with their skulls. They could not raise their heads to look forward. This head posture with flexed skull was rather similar to the head posture of our closest relatives, like chimpanzees.”
Interestingly enough, many living organism carry the genetic code of their by-gone ancestors. It is relatively simple, for example, to genetically modify chickens to that they grow teeth like their dinosaur ancestors.
No word yet on how the "intelligent design" people hope to explain this phenomenon.