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A man from America's "most inbred family" who communicates in grunts and barks has had his bizarre condition likely explained by a doctor.
The Whittaker family live in a squalid shack in the aptly named Odd in West Virginia, US. Poverty-stricken and beset with health problems, they are guarded by neighbours who don't take kindly to outsiders.
The siblings and a cousin, some of whom were so badly deformed their eyes pointed in different directions, are "out of control" according to a photographer who spent time with them.
READ MORE: 'Deliverance inbred family' was 'craziest thing I'd ever seen', says photographer
And one of the family members, Danny Ray Whittaker, who goes by Ray, even exclusively communicates in a series of grunts and barks.
There is speculation that Ray suffers from nonverbal autism.
Dr Alex Prayson of the National Council on Rehabilitation Education wrote in a 2015 paper that marriage between close relatives increases a person's risk of inheriting DNA that causes autism.
"Both autism and inbred disorders may have similar abnormalities of the brain structure and/or function," Dr Prayson wrote.
"Brain scans of these both children show variances in the shape and structure of the brain when compared with the neurotypical or normal brain found in children."
Ray may be nonverbal but he has shown evidence in the past that he can understand questions.
Love rat dad with 16 kids by 10 women now 'settled down' after bonking on buses
When Mark asked Ray if he'd ever had a girlfriend, he enthusiastically grunted twice to say yes and started nodding, despite a relative insisting he hadn't.
It transpired that he had grabbed a woman out of nowhere and startled her.
He also showed evidence that he could discern objects, pointing to a sandwich when an interviewer asked him what he was eating.
Filmmaker Mark Laita will never forget his first run-in with the Whittaker family.
"It was like that scene from Deliverance," he said.
He was referring to the 1972 survival horror movie about four city-dwelling men who canoe into a remote part of Georgia, where they endure harrowing encounters with some toothless, redneck hillbillies.
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- United States
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