[extropy-chat] "Reverse Evolution" update

Ian Goddard iamgoddard at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 6 03:50:57 UTC 2006


Last Friday I swung by the NIH and pulled a few
studies in order to test my hypothesis that the
UnerTan syndrome is the disequilibrium syndrome. [1]
Most of the symptoms of the two line up with the
biggest overlaps being mental retardation and an
inability to walk upright. However, it seems each has
a unique genetic origin: Unertan syndrome originates
in chromosome 17p [2] and DES (in the Hutterite cases)
in a deletion of the VLDLR gene at 9p24. [3,4] 

Study [2] examines the quadrupedals in the news report
above and mentions their similarity to the Hutterite
cases in [1]. Other common symptoms of the two
syndromes include ataxia, intensional tremor,
strabismus, and dysarthria. So a curious finding in my
reading is that sometimes the same genetic defect
manifests in individuals with few common symptoms,
while in other cases like here different genetic
defects can share almost all the same symptoms.

Study [1] notes that the 11 Hutterite children used
four-wheel strollers to maintain an upright position
till ages 3 to 15 (the abstract says supported walking
occurred up to age 21, but the full study does not
cite that instance and delimits stroller-use to a
maximum of age 15). But in the case of the Kurdish
quadrupedals now in the news, the authors of [5] were
told by a local doctor that "so far as he could tell
there had never been any attempt at physiotherapy" to
help the children learn to walk, and of course they
just kept crawling. That suggests the possibility that
the Hutterites learned to walk because they were given
upright support while the Kurds never learned because
they were not.

But my bottom line regarding the "reverse evolution"
claim is still that apes and monkeys are quadrupedal
because their hind-limbs are not suited to sustained
upright walking, whereas the Kurdish folks are
quadrupedal because a neurological impairment and
circumstance prevented them from achieving their
potential. So their quadrupedality and that of apes
originate from different causes. The Kurds also had
other symptoms like ataxia, intensional tremor,
strabismus, and dysarthria that differ from the
physical state of apes indicating that one of their
many symptoms just happens to look ape-like.

Btw, the "reverse evolution" story seems to be
devolving into an ugly battle:

[1] http://www.hubmed.org/display.cgi?uids=7246619
[2] http://www.hubmed.org/display.cgi?uids=16371500
[3] http://www.hubmed.org/display.cgi?uids=16174313
[5] http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/archive/00000463/


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