Walking on all fours might be fun for some, but for the members of one Turkish family, it’s the only way to move around. Five siblings of the 19-member Ulas family, from Hatay Province, suffer from a rare disability – they lack the balance and stability required to stand up straight, forcing them to move on all four limbs. The family was discovered in 2005 – 14 of them appeared to be completely normal, while five suffered a quadrupedal gait. Scientists have been baffled by the condition ever since.
The Ulas siblings were featured in a BBC documentary film, The Family That Walks On All Fours, in 2006. The film revealed that of the five siblings, two sisters and a brother have only walked on all fours since birth. Another brother and sister sometimes manage to walk upright. “It’s amazing as an example of a strange, strange aberration of human development,” said Professor Nicholas Humphrey, who visited the family twice during the documentary. “But their interest is how they can live in the modern world.”
Living in the modern world with a quadrupedal gait is no easy task. The siblings are often ridiculed for their disorder, and the family tries their best to protect them. The sisters remain indoors most of the time, spending their time crocheting. One of the brothers, on the other hand, is more adventurous – he travels to the local village and interacts with other people.