Case Report

By Prof. Uner Tan , Dr. Burak Koroglu
Corresponding Author Prof. Uner Tan
Physiology, Cukurova University, Medical School, Department of Physiology, Adana - Turkey 01330
Submitting Author Prof. Uner Tan
Other Authors Dr. Burak Koroglu
Archeology, - Turkey


Uner Tan syndrome, quadrupedal locomotion, Turkey, human, ataxia, systems theory, self-organization

Tan U, Koroglu B. First Quadruped Man Was Found In Turkey A Hundred Years Ago. WebmedCentral NEUROLOGY 2010;1(10):WMC001074
doi: 10.9754/journal.wmc.2010.001074
Submitted on: 26 Oct 2010 05:15:11 AM GMT
Published on: 26 Oct 2010 11:25:49 AM GMT


It was believed that human quadrupedalism with the related novel syndrome (Uner Tan syndrome, UTS) first described in 2005 was the first to be discovered in the world. However, it was later revealed a boy with a paralyzed leg walking on all fours was already reported in 1901. The boy did not exhibit the whole symptom complex of UTS, however. We will report here a man walking on all fours probably exhibiting UTS, reported in 1914 in the vicinity of the middle Black Sea coast, within the borders of what was then the Ottoman Empire, which means we may need to revise the history of this syndrome.


In 2005 I described a novel syndrome with habitual quadrupedal locomotion associated with mental retardation and dysarthric speech, in five of 19 siblings of a consanguineous family residing near Iskenderun, Southern Turkey [1-4]. The syndrome, which came to be called “Uner Tan Syndrome” or “UTS,” sparked world-wide interest, especially because diagonal sequence quadrupedal locomotion had never previously been observed in human beings [5-11]. Apart from one case with a normal brain scan, MRI scans of all the UTS cases exhibited cerebellar hypoplasia, and the patients suffered associated symptoms of cerebellar ataxia [4]. The acquisition of the habitual diagonal-sequence quadrupedal locomotion was explained by the principles of the dynamical systems theory: “stepping and ultimately, walking are not innate or prescribed. Rather they are self-organized and emergent, reflecting an assembly of multiple subsystems within the infant’s history of activity in context.” [12].        

A search of the scientific literature available via well known science indexes such as the Science Citation Index and PubMed, and the Google Academic website suggested the habitual walking on all fours first described in 2005 had never been observed previously, except the boy with a paralyzed leg walking on all fours photographed and animated by Muybridge in 1901 [4], but he did not exhibit the symptoms of Uner Tan syndrome.

Case Report(s)

We have found a historical picture of a man walking on all four extremities most probably exhibiting the symptoms of UTS, much earlier than the discovery of the first family in 2005 [1-3]. The man was photographed by the famous British traveler W. J. Childs during his trip in 1914 along the historical Baghdad Road around Havza, a small village near Samsun on the middle Black Sea coast. Illustration 1 shows the man photographed by Childs in 1914 walking on all fours beside his donkey (top), and a modern quadruped man exhibiting UTS symptoms photographed by Tan in 2010, near Adana (bottom). The similarities in the locomotion of both men are clearly seen in Illustration 1. However, there are huge differences in roads and their clothing: the famous Baghdad road was littered with stones and irregularities in 1914’s Ottoman Empire, whereas the road is clear and smooth in 2010’s Turkey. Moreover, the man wears a turban around his head during the days of Ottoman Empire, while the man has no turban around his head during the days of the Turkish Republic.        

The quadruped man encountered in 1914 near Havza probably belonged to a Greek family, since many Greek people were resident in Havza during the time of the Ottoman Empire, and Childs said (p 27) the village was in the vicinity of Kara Dagh, which is known to have been a village peopled by Greek (Rum) people. This lends weight to the idea the man was of Greek origin living in a village with a closed Greek population. He possibly belonged to a consanguineous family, since the Greek population tended to live in isolation, suggesting possible interfamilial marriages. UTS is always associated with consanguineous families, as mentioned above, and we know UTS is an automosal recessive condition, which is most often seen in closed populations such as the Kurdish people in Turkey, and similar to DES, found in the closed Hutterites populations.

As seen in Illustration 1, the man from Havza walked with extended strong legs, and according to the rather detailed description of this remarkable man in the Childs’ book [13, p. 28], could spring onto his donkey’s back. On p. 28, the man is described as follows:

“As we rose out of the next valley a donkey and a figure on the ground beside it attracted my attention. They were in the shadow of a solitary tree growing at the roadside. The donkey stood with drooping head, the picture of patience, but the figure moved in curious fashion, and I went up to look more closely. And now it appeared that I had fallen into the trap of a beggar, one of those mendicants who infest the road and profit by their infirmities. He sprang up and asked for alms, and because these were not immediately forthcoming went on all-fours and showed a number of antics, imitating a dog and goat and other animals to admiration. Then I saw he was without thighs; that the knee-joint was at the hip, the leg rigid, and only half the usual length. With his grim bearded face thrust upwards, and the odd movements of his little legs, he lacked only a stump of tail to make me think I had come upon a satyr in life. At last I photographed him, and gave him three piastres for his trouble.”


Above we have reported a man apparently exhibiting Uner Tan syndrome in 1914, at least with regard to habitual quadrupedal locomotion, who lived in the vicinity of Havza near Samsun on the middle Black Sea coast. He probably originated from a consanguineous poor family. He was a beggar similar to some of the modern quadrupeds. One of them, shown in Illustration 1 below, was also a beggar belonging to a poor consanguineous family.

Childs believed the man had no thighs and the knee joint was at the hip, but this seems unlikely. It seems more plausible that Childs did not notice the knee joints because of the tautly stretched legs. Childs does not inform us about the cognitive capabilities of the man such as his intelligence or speech. The report in Childs’s book also accentuates the rarity of the human quadrupedalism, since the author traveled the length of Baghdad road, which extends from Istanbul to Baghdad, and never saw another quadruped human being.


This study was partly supported by the Turkish Academy of Sciences.

Authors contribution(s)

Both authors equally contributed to the creation of the article.


1. Tan U. Unertan syndrome; quadrupedality, primitive language, and severe mental retardation; a new theory on the evolution of human mind. NeuroQuantol 2005;4:250–5.
2. Tan U. A new syndrome with quadrupedal gait, primitive speech, and severe mental retardation as a live model for human evolution. Int J Neurosci 2006;116: 361-70.
3. Tan U. Discovery of Unertan syndrome and reverse evolution as an “Aha” experience. NeuroQuantol 2008; 6: 80-3.
4. Tan U. Uner Tan syndrome: history, clinical evaluations, genetics, and the dynamics of human quadrupedalism. Open Neurol J 2010; 4:78-89.
5. Garber KB. Editor’s corner: This month in genetics; VLDLR receptor stands tall. Am J Hum Gen 2008;82:807.
6. Held LI. Quirks of Human Anatomy 2009; Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
7. Akpinar S. In restless legs syndrome, the neural substrates of the sensorimotor symptoms are also normally involved in upright standing posture and bipedal walking. Med Hypothesis 2009; 73: 169-76.
8. Ghika J. Paleoneurology: neurodegenerative diseases are age-related diseases of specific brain regions recently developed by homo sapiens. Med Hypothesis 2008; 71: 788-801.
9. Le Fanu J. Why us? How science rediscovered the mystery of ourselves. Panthoen Books, 2009, New York. Pp320.
10. Downey G. Human, Quadruped: Uner Tan syndrome, part 1. Retrieved 25 October 2010, from syndrome-part-1/.
11. Downey G. 2 legs good, 4 legs better: Uner Tan syndrome, part 2, Retrieved 25 October 2010, from uner-tan-syndrome-part-2/.
12. Thelen E, Ulrich BD. Hidden skills: a dynamic systems analysis of treadmill stepping during the first year. Monogr Soc Res Child Dev 1991; 56: 1-98.
13. Childs W.J. Across Asia Minor on Foot. William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh and London, 1917.

Source(s) of Funding


Competing Interests



This article has been downloaded from WebmedCentral. With our unique author driven post publication peer review, contents posted on this web portal do not undergo any prepublication peer or editorial review. It is completely the responsibility of the authors to ensure not only scientific and ethical standards of the manuscript but also its grammatical accuracy. Authors must ensure that they obtain all the necessary permissions before submitting any information that requires obtaining a consent or approval from a third party. Authors should also ensure not to submit any information which they do not have the copyright of or of which they have transferred the copyrights to a third party.
Contents on WebmedCentral are purely for biomedical researchers and scientists. They are not meant to cater to the needs of an individual patient. The web portal or any content(s) therein is neither designed to support, nor replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Your use of the WebmedCentral site and its contents is entirely at your own risk. We do not take any responsibility for any harm that you may suffer or inflict on a third person by following the contents of this website.

2 reviews posted so far

a new case to add
Posted by Dr. Olivier Walusinski on 23 Dec 2010 10:25:03 AM GMT

0 comments posted so far

Please use this functionality to flag objectionable, inappropriate, inaccurate, and offensive content to WebmedCentral Team and the authors.


Author Comments
0 comments posted so far


What is article Popularity?

Article popularity is calculated by considering the scores: age of the article
Popularity = (P - 1) / (T + 2)^1.5
P : points is the sum of individual scores, which includes article Views, Downloads, Reviews, Comments and their weightage

Scores   Weightage
Views Points X 1
Download Points X 2
Comment Points X 5
Review Points X 10
Points= sum(Views Points + Download Points + Comment Points + Review Points)
T : time since submission in hours.
P is subtracted by 1 to negate submitter's vote.
Age factor is (time since submission in hours plus two) to the power of 1.5.factor.

How Article Quality Works?

For each article Authors/Readers, Reviewers and WMC Editors can review/rate the articles. These ratings are used to determine Feedback Scores.

In most cases, article receive ratings in the range of 0 to 10. We calculate average of all the ratings and consider it as article quality.

Quality=Average(Authors/Readers Ratings + Reviewers Ratings + WMC Editor Ratings)