Remote village where people walk on all fours | 60 Minutes Australia (2023)


They're living, breathing men and women, but they walk on all fours, just as we did four million years ago. And until this film was shot, they were hidden away, unseen by the outside world.
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For forty years, 60 Minutes have been telling Australians the world’s greatest stories. Tales that changed history, our nation and our lives. Reporters Liz Hayes, Allison Langdon, Tara Brown, Charles Wooley, Liam Bartlett and Tom Steinfort look past the headlines because there is always a bigger picture. Sundays are for 60 Minutes.


You're about to see something truly astounding a discovery that's caused an absolute sensation, one that could have untold significance for every one of us.

And not only that it's a totally engrossing.

Mystery story - You're about to meet a family that shouldn't exist.

A family like no other They could just be the missing link between man and ape the holy grail.

Scientists have sought for generations, their living, breathing men and women But.

They walk on all fours.

Just as we did four million years ago.

And until this film was shot, They were hidden away, unseen by the outside world, Remote village in Turkey here, hidden from the world lives, an Extraordinary family, a family whose very existence could rewrite the evolution textbooks It was really fascinated.

You know, here are humans doing things that they're not meant to be doing For the past year, their existence has been known to just a handful of experts who have been sworn to secrecy When I, heard of it myself I was intrigued, but nothing prepared me for the reality Now.

Finally, the secret can be revealed.

Immediate response.

I had was of itis I couldn't believe, my eyes.

I, never expected that Even under the most extraordinary scientific fantasy that modern human beings could return to an animal state, In, scientific terms.

It was the equivalent of finding living breathing fossils, Human beings who had never made the evolutionary leap of standing upright The quest to find out.

Why took a team of scientists on an amazing journey and raised profound Questions about what it is to be human thing, which marks us off from the rest of the animal world is the fact that we're the species which walks on two legs and Holds our heads high in the air It's.

What defines us as in many ways yes, of course, its language and all sorts of other things, too, but It's terribly important to our sense of ourselves as being different from from others in the animal kingdom.

These, people cross that boundary professor Nick Humphrey is an evolutionary psychologist He first heard of the family through a medical paper produced by Turkish.

Scientists It looks as if we really did have something rather like a throwback, an evolution of turning back the evolutionary clock and the Turkish professor who invited us say, That's the way he thought about it., In fact, others in the scientific community took up that line and said, yes, sir for the world is a is a Genetic problem, which has undone of the last three million years of evolution.

Returned them to a primitive stage.

It sounded like the anthropological find of the millennium A once-in-a-lifetime discovery that scientists dream of if the family proved to be true quadrupeds walking on all fours They may provide the elusive missing link between man and 8th Humphrey set out for Turkey with a scientific team to record.

His findings This is a very exciting moment for our son, We, don't know, quite what we're going to expect from little well, really see quadrupedal, humans., I, don't know, It's never been reported in scientific literature, Rajat Oules and his wife have an astounding.

18 children 12 were born.



Six had a unique disability.

This is Gulen.

He staggers.

As if he's drunk But, he's, not there's something wrong with his balance, but he's still on two feet, not four Then one by one, the other children appear There are four girls.

And one young man Hussein has walked like this for 28 years, Very, revealing for anthropologists people who study early human evolution, Because.

What these two have done is to reinvent or rediscover a form of locomotion.

Which very likely does correspond predicted closely to way.

Our ancestors worked The affected.

Children are aged between 18 and 34 They all still live at home cared for by their brothers and sisters and their parents.

Now in their 60s, So far as we knew no other case like the one in front of our eyes have ever been described before there were no reports in the scientific literature of adult human beings, walking on all fours and So.

We you know.

We noticed we had a major phenomena in front of us to explain from a scientific point of view.

But also of course, a major tragic human story Fossils tell us we probably first became bipeds around 4 million years ago, Since, then we have become beautifully adapted for moving on two feet So.

Why? For the first time in eons are human beings again, walking on four There was a certain amount of speed This.

This guy Hussein can can out run me., Yes, Hussein can travel for kilometres like this The skin on the heels of his hands is as thickened as it is on his feet.

It's, an action like that., Is, it? No.

They don't push on them at all.

They did They actually just do left on the heel on the very soft, flat surface.

You know, They will put their fingers down.

But on a rough surface, they don't let their fingers touch the ground, The Turkish, scientists who first discovered them believe the children had devolved But, professor Humphrey suspects.

The problem is more likely genetic The, parents are second cousins and could have passed a faulty gene onto some, but not all of their children.


A bad luck that the children have inherited from both parts percent.

Recessive genetic mutation, Basic neurological tests confirm there is something wrong with their brains But that still doesn't explain why they walk like animals, It's a scientific puzzle.

But for the children themselves, it's met a life of misery There's hostility towards the family in the village, the local kids taunt Hussein They are being beaten up by the kids of the village, and they are not being accepted Into.

The social circle.

They're outcasts.

They are, yup.

They are The team takes the family to a local private hospital for brain scans.

The results are examined back Britain by anatomist.

Roger Keynes This is a sense.


There is something very striking which hits you immediately.

You see it It's very clear that in the middle of the cerebellum here what's called the vermis? It's shrunk.

The brain damage is the same in all the affected children.


We have Sophia's brain here, too Yeah.


This one here, Same, again, Very striking, But.

The shrunken cerebellum is not enough to explain why the family can't walk up right? A case reported last year in Italy, a young man presented without any cerebellum, but he could still walk.

It doesn't in itself account for their walking on four legs because other children who have damaged cerebellum, even children who have no Cerebellum can still walk upright.

So again, the experts turn to genetics in Berlin German.

Scientists think the answer lies in the family's DNA I.

Think this is very novel because it has never been described before that people are able to walk on their four.


Usually I think the opinion was that this is not really possible and Let alone that its genetic Professor Stefan Mondalas believes, the Ulas family's blood may hold one of the greatest secrets of science The gene for walking erect.

The very essence of what makes us human.

It's, the exciting part of it We can by describing this family actually show that humans can walk on their fours.

And then this can actually be inherited as a Genetic trait.

And that is very novel and very unusual The Germans have already published claims of a breakthrough Upsetting.

Many in the scientific community.

I think it's an extraordinary speculation., Very unlikely to be true.

You don't, accept that's part of the equation, No, I mean, everything we know about evolution suggests that no single gene will have been responsible So for damage to a single gene can't, throw you back from being bipedal to being Quadrupedal to have to have been other things at work here, There's more descent in New York, where fossil experts squabble over the bones of Hussein and his sisters, *inaudible arguing*, I'm amazed the ease with which some of these individuals are moving, particularly the guy is is it seems to be moving quite fluid? Very different - okay.

To see modern humans with muddy human body form walking around them on all four limbs, Using their their upper limbs.

As a form of support is extremely interesting.

One of the remarkable things about the way these children walk is that they Keep their fingers off the ground.

They walk on their own that on their wrists, not knuckle walking like a chimpanzee or gorilla Walking on the wrists in this way So the fingers remain undamaged is of great interest to the evolutionists.

It may be the way our ancestors learned to move between coming down from the trees.

And finally, standing upright It does a bit more abust Look at the width of this thing.

In, an ideal world on paper, yes, I'd love to see those curtains.

It'd be really interesting.

But you know, that's, just not okay, ethically But at Liverpool University in England.

Another team has found a way to examine the skeletons Ethically, and they are different to ours Hussein's movements are identical to an April monkey.

Ideally suited for balancing on branches These.

People are not missing links But.

They have shown us How.

Our ancestors did behave.

They have rediscovered a way which we would never have even thought about nobody had Suggested that our ancestors are what we're calling wrist.

Warmers But, Professor, Humphrey begins to suspect there are more basic reasons why the Ulas children never stood up when they were babies They crawled as usual on hands and knees, then at around nine, months.

They started walking on their feet and hands.

With, no, local, Health, Service., No.

One was there to encourage the clearly disabled children onto their feet Why that happened? We don't know why nobody intervened why they didn't do the simplest things They might have done to help them and to bring them on as would have happened in Melbourne or in London or New, York Incredibly.

No one had even thought to provide them with a $30.00 walking frame, Within a few hours.

It was an astonishing transformation.

The children who had never taken a step upright on two legs while using this friend to walk across the room with Such delight in their faces and a sense of achievement and of having suddenly made a breakthrough into the world.

They never imagined.

They could ever had Before the scientific team left it arranged for a physiotherapist to examine the children and Installed parallel bars in the yard to encourage them, upright Possibility of walking gives new hope to the family The beauty.

A big thing, a huge deal Pooja tells the team if she could walk properly.

She could go to dances and meet a husband Yeah.

She would love to go to her But.

Unfortunately The physiotherapist holds little hope that Hussein will ever walk upright.

He thinks it's too late for him Hussein's despair.

And anger are obvious only his friendship.

With the family dog seems to calm him I come away, with a renewed respect For, the human spirit for how human beings.

And most disadvantaged circumstances can nonetheless triumph over their adversity No matter what they have to do to maintain the their pride and their and sense of themselves.

Scientists still believe the Ulas family has much to tell us about our ancient Ancestors, but life for the family must go on.

And in January this year, Professor Humphreys team returned to Turkey to check on them It looks as if in the month or two.

And we made this very small Intervention - you might think all of the children are not some except walking independently on their back legs.

Which is both a wonderful thing for them and you know? How? Extraordinary that you can You? Can parachute into people's lives and make such a difference to them But there, was no sign of Hussein it.

Was thought he was the least likely of the family to make progress, but then They had come to document a missing link in our evolutionary chain and found another The moment.

Our ancestors stood up and became a man, Hello, I'm, Liz, Hayes.

Thanks for watching to keep up with the latest from 60 minutes, Australia, Make.

Sure you subscribe to our channel You can also download the 9 now app for full episodes and other exclusives, 60 minutes content.


Is there a remote village where people walk on all fours? ›

One family in Turkey has a way of walking that almost no other person on Earth does naturally – some members of the Ulas family walk on all fours, using the palms of their hands in what's called a “bear crawl”.

What tribe of people walk on all 4s? ›

For years, the Ulas family in Turkey has received a lot of attention from the scientific community. Because five members of the family walk on all fours, one scientist concluded over a decade ago that the condition signaled backwards evolution.

What is the documentary about people who walk on all fours? ›

The Family That Walks on All Fours is a BBC Two documentary that explored the science and the story of five individuals in the Ulas family, a Turkish family in Southeastern Turkey that walk with a previously unreported quadruped gait.

Are there people who walk on all fours? ›

A Turkish family who were discovered walking on all fours have raised 'terribly important' questions about evolution. Groups of scientists across the world were left baffled when it was discovered that a family living in Turkey had children between the ages of 18 and 34 who walked on all fours rather than two legs.

Why did humans stop walking on all fours? ›

Why the switch from all fours to just two limbs? The answer, according to a new study published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA: to save a few calories. Anthropologist Herman Pontzer and colleagues at Washington University in St.

Why did the family walk on all fours? ›

Danish scientists have discovered how the disease works and at the same time solved a long-standing scientific mystery. In Turkey an entire family walks on all fours because they suffer from a rare syndrome that strikes the centres in the small brain that control balance.

Who is the woman who walks on all four? ›

A Norwegian woman named Ayla Kirstine appeared in a May 14 video that can be seen on Twitter. The video shows Kirstine walking along a dirt road on all fours, galloping around a field with a dog and gracefully jumping over a picnic table.

Who is the girl who walks on all fours? ›

Ayla Kirstine, from Norway, learned a special skill of roaming around in the field and leaping over hurdles as if she were a horse. Have you ever wanted to be an animal? A woman who loves dogs since her childhood wanted to be a dog herself. She learned to run and jump on all fours like horses.

Which family walks on hands and feet? ›

Five (out of 19) adult siblings of the Ulas family of Turkey - four sisters and a brother - walk on their feet and the plams of their hands. This quadrupedal gait (known as "bear walk") is unique to the Ulases and is different to the "knuckle walk" witnessed in the great apes.

Is the book The Walk based on a true story? ›

'the Walk' Is Based on a True Story of Philippe Petit.

Is The Walk movie based on a true story? ›

The Walk is a 2015 American 3D biographical drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by him and Christopher Browne. It is based on the story of 24-year-old French high-wire artist Philippe Petit's walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on August 7, 1974.

Is it healthy to walk on all fours? ›

Secondly, it's hard to deny the full-body workout potential of quadrupedal movement. When you're on all fours, you're hitting your quads and shoulders, as well as your core and legs. Don't just move forward, experiment with quadrupedal movement backwards, sideways, on diagonals and in random directions too.

How fast can humans go on all fours? ›

A 2016 paper by Ryuta Kinugasa and Yoshiyuki Usami noted that the Guinness World Record for a human running 100 meters on all fours has improved from 18.58 seconds in 2008 (the first year the record was tracked) to 15.71 seconds in 2015.

What is walking on 4 legs called? ›

Quadrupedalism is sometimes referred to as being "on all fours", and is observed in crawling, especially by infants. In the 20th century quadrupedal movement was popularized as a form of physical exercise by Georges Hebert.

What does in a remote village mean? ›

adjective [usually ADJECTIVE noun] Remote areas are far away from cities and places where most people live, and are therefore difficult to get to.

When did humans walk on all fours? ›

From at least 6 to 3 million years ago, early humans combined apelike and humanlike ways of moving around. Fossil bones like the ones you see here record a gradual transition from climbing trees to walking upright on a regular basis.

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