The majority of human beings as infants go through a stage of crawling on hands and knees. But a small proportion go on to use a form of crawl in which they support themselves on their hands and feet with their bodies raised above the ground. In the general population this so-called 'bear crawl' is not common (a study of 150 infants in the USA reported just 5% using it as a dominant gait ); but it tends to run in families, suggesting it may be a heritable trait.
The bear-crawl has several advantages over more typical knee-crawling, and it can temporarily prove to be an especially good way of getting around. Indeed Ales Hrdlicka, who seventy five years ago wrote a definitive (though now largely forgotten) treatise on this kind of crawling, Children Who Run on All Fours, remarked that "The most common effect of the all-fours method of progression appears to be more or less of a delay in walking erect. These children are quite satisfied with their easy and rapid on-all-fours, and were they left to their own devices and not influenced by other examples, they might possibly keep on, on hands and feet, for a longer time if not indefinitely."
Many physical changes that feral children genuinely do undergo are brought about by walking on all fours. Their muscles develop differently, they acquire callouses on the palms of their hands and their knees, and their ankles and other leg joints become accustomed to being bent most of the time. Even once taught to walk on two legs, Kamala would still resort to all fours when running, and in that mode would outpace people running on two legs.
Feral children are usually both strong and very dextrous physically. They can run (on all fours), climb and jump very nimbly and with great rapidity.
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