One of the questions continuously raised throughout Animal’s story is the distinction between man and animal. This question is stemmed from Animal’s four-limbed gait that earned him his nickname, most likely because Evolutionist theory places so much emphasis on bipedalism as a defining characteristic of homo sapiens: 

“Bipedalism is a highly specialized and unusual form of primate locomotion that is found today only in modern humans.”  – Harcourt-Smith, The Origins of Bipedal Locomotion 

  Upon further pursuit of this topic, I stumbled upon the interesting story of a Turkish family with a genetic condition called Uner Tan Syndrome which causes them to walk on all fours . While not much is known about this condition, media coverage on this family provides another example of four-legged gait, a physical feature, being linked with a more animalistic state of mind.

“Characterized by loss of balance, impaired cognitive abilities and a habitual quadrupedal gait, it’s a syndrome, Uner Tan theorized, that suggested “a backward stage in human evolution.” In other words, the siblings were thought to be walking proof that our evolutionary advances could — poof — vanish, and we’d be back to walking on all fours.”  (Note: results of this study are highly controversial)

   Another interesting point brought up by the article is that the affected people experience difficulty with language and communicate amongst themselves in their own language (a chilling reminder to Animal’s special position with regard to communication)

 “The syndrome has another price. The siblings are able to speak, but barely, and have developed their own language to communicate with one another.”

  This family has also been the subject of a PBS documentary, creatively titled Family that Walks on All Fours. The trailer is available here.

   What is interesting (and important) to note, however, is that both this family and Animal’s gait is distinguishable from that of primates in that they walk on their palms, not knuckles. What does this say about our perceptions on how we define human beings? Can definition based on physical ability be justified? What about cognitive capability? These are some questions I hope this post has facilitated in raising. 

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