Cloning Neanderthals

Should we clone a neanderthal? No, really, should we? Recently, Archaeology magazine considered the scientific, legal, and of course ethical challenges of doing just that. Researchers from Roche's 454 Life Sciences and genetics firm Illumina are collecting bits of Neanderthal DNA to sequence the genome of a 30,000-year-old Neanderthal woman from Croatia. Once the genome is complete, making a clone is no easy task. But as the article explains, it's within the relam of possibility. And what happens if there's success? From Archaeology (image: Wikimedia Commons):
 Wikipedia Commons Thumb E E0 Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis.Jpg 470Px-Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis Bernard Rollin, a bioethicist and professor of philosophy at Colorado State University, doesn't believe that creating a Neanderthal clone would be an ethical problem in and of itself. The problem lies in how that individual would be treated by others. "I don't think it is fair to put people...into a circumstance where they are going to be mocked and possibly feared," he says, "and this is equally important, it's not going to have a peer group. Given that humans are at some level social beings, it would be grossly unfair." The sentiment was echoed by Stringer, "You would be bringing this Neanderthal back into a world it did not belong to....It doesn't have its home environment anymore."

There were no cities when the Neanderthals went extinct, and at their population's peak there may have only been 10,000 of them spread across Europe. A cloned Neanderthal might be missing the genetic adaptations we have evolved to cope with the world's greater population density, whatever those adaptations might be. But, not everyone agrees that Neanderthals were so different from modern humans that they would automatically be shunned as outcasts.

"I'm convinced that if one were to raise a Neanderthal in a modern human family he would function just like everybody else," says Trenton Holliday, a paleoanthropologist at Tulane University. "I have no reason to doubt he could speak and do all the things that modern humans do."

"I think there would be no question that if you cloned a Neanderthal, that individual would be recognized as having human rights under the Constitution and international treaties," says Lori Andrews, a professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law. The law does not define what a human being is, but legal scholars are debating questions of human rights in cases involving genetic engineering. "This is a species-altering event," says Andrews, "it changes the way we are creating a new generation." How much does a human genome need to be changed before the individual created from it is no longer considered human?

"Should We Clone Neanderthals?"

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  1. Clearly we should not, for reasons stated by a scholar in the article: “Obviously, it won’t have traditional freedoms. It’s going to be studied and it’s going to be experimented on. And yet, if it is accorded legal protections, it will have the right to not be the subject of research, so the very reasons for which you would create it would be an abridgment of rights.”

    1. If we can, we will.
      That’s what we do.
      We just have to figure out the best way, for if and when it becomes possible. I don’t believe the child would ever even know that it’s different, except for the public and medical scrutiny.
      You could always raise a tribe on a game ranch and observe them in the wild too.
      Just a thought.

  2. I see there’s already a difficulty in that the hypothetical clone of a Neanderthal woman is referred to as either “it” or “he.”

  3. Canadian science fiction writer, a novel on this subject (cloning neanderthal), award winning author, and someone took my copy so for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the book. Not too bad of a novel…FRAMESHIFT by Robert J. Sawyer!

    Okay phew I feel better now.

  4. Yeah, this won’t end well.

    An individual Neanderthal is just an individual. You don’t know where on the spectrum of Neanderthals he/she lies. So you’d have to clone at least 384 to get something approaching a statistically relevant sample.

  5. Everything went well until the 2-year-old Neanderthal encountered a common cold virus, which put it through three days of agonising hell and killed it. Meanwhile, the cold virus yoinked a genetic sequence from the Neanderthal’s DNA which allowed it to instruct human livers to produce phenol, which shuts down the nervous system and causes kidney failure, making the common cold into an airborne death sentence.

    28 days later, Mother Nature steps out of a cave and says “IT’S NOT NICE TO FOOL MOTHER NATURE!”

    But no one is around to hear it.

    Does Mother Nature still make a sound?

  6. I’m not against it. I think he/she can be studied with little interruption to it’s “normal” life, I don’t think it neccessarily would have to be “tested” in the diabolical sense. Just watching it live and learn with a family would be test enough. I truly believe he/she could grow to have a happy, normal life – facing no greater difficulty than anyone else born “different” from what society deems as normal looking. The toughest challenge actually would be the guantlet of judgement called secondary school. If that test were passed, it could go on to do anything – like being an unfrozen caveman lawyer.

    But I do think there are more interesting things to clone first. Why not a mammoth.

  7. Hasn’t Christine O’Donnell declared that this has already been done? (oh wait… maybe O’Donnell herself is a….!)

  8. I think the biggest worry is that Homo Sapien DNA has a built-in aversion and hatred for Neanderthals, developed over thousands of years of war between the two species, now forgotten.

    The poor guy wouldn’t make it very far.

  9. I’m fine with human cloning in general, but I think most of the arguments cited in the piece are lame or troubling in their own way. The simple argument against Neanderthal cloning is that we shouldn’t be bringing any human life into the world simply for the purpose of experimentation — be it a Neanderthal clone or an embryo spliced to have gills or chitinous armor or whatever.

    If any of the usual potential customers for human cloning (unable to conceive, or would be passing on genetic disorders) was to come into the lab and say they’d like a Neanderthal please, that gets into a grey-er area. Are there policies already in place about artificially implanting an embryo with Downs Syndrome or Roberts syndrome, for example?

    On the other hand, I eagerly await the cloning of mammoths, and commercial availability of pet dwarf mammoths.

    1. Umbriel, where did you get that idea about the dwarf mammoth? This is too weird! I’ve been writing odds and ends and occasional essays for 15 years about cloning mammoths and miniaturizing them for household pets.

      It’s ridiculous, but I’d get one, or several.

  10. I don’t think it would be any more cruel than what is experienced by children of royalty. Like royalty, Neanderthal children would live under a microscope, but be granted many advantages by the system. Given what we could learn, the perspective it could give the entire world on what it means to be human, I think it’s probably more justifiable to bring this kind of royalty into the world than the other kind. And if they are our close relatives, then I think they’d have as much chance of adapting and finding happiness in their extraordinary circumstances as anyone else.

  11. They make it sound technically feasible, but I doubt it. The problem is that the neanderthal sequence is littered with errors. That’s what happens when you try to sequence DNA that’s thousands of years old, has been chemically modified by age, and has some level of non-neanderthal contamination.

    They have new methods of minimizing the error, but it’s still way higher than what you’d need to have a viable organism. That’s one of several massive technical hurdles we’d have to surmount before doing something like this.

    Also, even though we say we’ve sequenced the human genome, even that is incomplete. There are stretches that for one technical reason or another have not yet been sequenced. That will surely be the case for the neanderthal genome as well.

    I think these guys are out of their minds if they think we have the technical capability to generate a neanderthal. We aren’t even close, and we probably won’t be for a long time if ever. I guess it sells magazines though.

  12. If we clone a Neanderthal, he or she would have to go to school. Would it be better to have him or her taught by european teachers who possess some Neanderthal genes, or by a african teachers, who apparently possess none?

  13. I say go ahead and clone her. The potential for learning is just too great.

    If the fetus was successfully implanted, it would gain proper immunities from its surrogate mother. Raise her in a normal family and observe. Make the studies anonymous so nobody knows who she is (except the doctors. Have a family adopt without knowing anything except that she may develop special needs and grant her free health insurance for the rest of her life).

    1. Ummm… except that she would look like a Neanderthal. Did you look at the picture of the skull above? It’s a completely different shape than ours.

    2. Yeah…neither the adoptive parents, nor this hypothetical Neanderthal child, are idiots.

      Even if you discount the fact that we’re pretty sure Homo sapiens and Neanderthals look significantly different from one another, there’s the whole fact that your “super secret, non-intrusive research subject” scenario is patently ridiculous.

      A kid raised in a normal environment is going to know what normal kids’ lives are like and how theirs is different. As she gets older, she’s going to wonder why she has so many doctor’s appointments and nobody will tell her what is wrong with her. And when she finally figures it out (and she will … provided the intelligence and behavioral capacities of Neanderthals don’t turn out to be significantly different from Homo sapiens, which would bring up its own set of big problems), she’s going to be furious and hurt. And with good reason.

      Read about the personal experiences of David Reimer, then tell me how ethical you think this idea is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Reimer

      1. I suppose the Neanderthal child could grow up like David Reimer, but then again, she could also grow up like Tim Colvin:

        http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/366/a-better-mousetrap-2008

        His mother kept his condition (mosaic down syndrome) from him and his teachers until he was a teenager, and while it wasn’t without angst, it also wasn’t tragic. And of course there are other options.

        I see the appeal of the argument that it would be cruel to bring a person as unique as a Neanderthal into the world, but the more I think about it, the more poisonous I think it is: the effect of the argument is to deny life to any person who isn’t sufficiently normal. So what if she were the only Neanderthal in her community? There are plenty of people who are the only X in their community. It doesn’t mean it would be better for them if they had never existed. (It might be easier for the community, but that’s not a very good reason not to bring a person into existence.)

        It would be valuable for science to observe the development of this child and, so long as the child is not raised any differently than any other child with a unique genetic condition, not cruel to the child.

        And if it’s so important for her to have a fellow Neanderthal to play with, well, clone another.

        1. That is really, really bad reasoning. We’re not genetically engineering children with cystic fibrosis to study the disease. To suggest we did so would be appalling, but applying your suggested logic, choosing not to do so would be denying the potential individual a chance for a full and rich life.

          No, this is a whole different kettle of hypothetical ethical dilemma.

          1. No, I think it’s sound. While there may be a reason not to produce a child with a genetic condition, the reason is not “because it would be the only child with a genetic condition” or “because the community might be cruel to a child with a genetic condition” or “because an ethical study of the child might produce valuable knowledge.”

            Unsound reasoning would be equating any genetic condition with a disabling one like cystic fibrosis.

            That said, we’re not intentionally producing children with cystic fibrosis? That will come as a shock to people with cystic fibrosis, of whom most – hopefully – were produced intentionally by their parents.

          2. Wow. You really went and deliberately misrepresented and misquoted by post, on this topic of all. How refreshingly unexpected of you.

            “we’re not intentionally producing children with cystic fibrosis?”

            That’s not what I said. Not even close. Read the post again.

            The pertinent reason not to produce a Neanderthal would be that you are producing a human being for lab study. This reason is specifically relevant to your disasterously bad argument.

          3. Wow. You really went and deliberately misrepresented and misquoted by post

            Turnabout is fair play, dear, so don’t whine. Otherwise,

            That’s not what I said

            No, it’s exactly what you said. I’m sure you think there’s a difference between a person who intentionally produces a child with a genetic condition the old-fashioned way and one who does the same through more modern means, but the difference is not self-evident, and because of your attitude problem, I’m not inclined to be charitable and make your argument for you.

            The pertinent reason not to produce a Neanderthal would be that you are producing a human being for lab study.

            Parents produce children for every reason possible; parents even produce children to serve as donors to preserve the life and health of their older siblings, which I’d say is even more questionable than producing a child for “lab study”. The intent is irrelevant so long as society respects the rights of the child in question.

          4. Oops. I forgot to check back, and I missed an opportunity for a rumble.

            Read my sentence again:

            We’re not genetically engineering children with cystic fibrosis to study the disease.

            Note the emphasis, see the point?

            I’d like to try and make your point for you, but you haven’t stated it sufficiently clearly, so for all I know we might actually agree. I think you’re being more of a dick about it though.

            Granted, it’s a close contest.

  14. Actually he could have quite the lucrative career. Just think of all those Geico commercials, and dare I say it? ENCINO MAN 2!

  15. It would be easy enough to give the child (remember that this will be a child!) a peer group by inserting her/him into a group of high needs kids: children with mongolism, muscular dystrophy, and so on. Or maybe she wouldn’t be a ‘high needs’ kid.

    Having dealt with many modern damaged kids over the years, I bet this one wouldn’t present more difficulties.

    What everyone seems to be forgetting (or avoiding) is that you wouldn’t really learn anything about our precursors. You would learn about some aberrant offspring from our past who has been artificially created for the entertainment (I use that word on purpose) of some geneticists.

    No mother would want her child to be treated like a test animal.

    Just because because we can doesn’t mean we should.

    1. It would be easy enough to give the child (remember that this will be a child!) a peer group by inserting her/him into a group of high needs kids

      For all we know, the average Neanderthal IQ may be 250.

      1. If we were talking about the original neanderthals, who really knows? For example, consider this: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/63734/title/Neandertals_blasted_out_of_existence,_archaeologists_propose
        Us homo sapiens sapiens might not have out competed homo sapiens neandertalis; just moved in when most of them died.

        However, remember Dolly the sheep? She had a bunch of developmental problems. I’m sure progress has been made, but there would be no guarantee that we’d get a healthy clone. To me, this seems to be a bigger issue than how she’d fit into modern society.

      2. OK, I’m going out on a limb here, and expecting to be sharply corrected. But…

        I believe current research indicates Neanderthals may well have been typically more intelligent than us, they certainly had very large brains. This has confounded the accepted wisdom that homosapiens were able to out-survive them because of superior smarts. Current thinking is that our capacity for abstract thought gave us the edge. Symbolism, metaphor, art.

        Doesn’t that make you think?

  16. Ernunnos says:

    “I don’t think it would be any more cruel than what is experienced by children of royalty.”

    The answer is obvious – Declare the li’l shaver to be the next King of England. Now he has ultimate power and protection, and we’ll be justified in studying him 24/7 via endless trashy UK tabloid articles. Besides, its not like Charles is going to be on the throne very long, the old codger. And once William and Harry are proven to be bastards from Diana’s fling with that Army major, the job will be wide open.

    A Caveman for King! Works for me.

  17. FYI – a draft of the Neanderthal genome has already been published with sequence from three individuals.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/328/5979/710

    That’s why we ended up with some news stories earlier this year noting that we now have convincing genetic evidence for humans interbreeding with Neanderthals post-Africa — European and East Asian groups both have evidence for fragments of Neanderthal DNA, but not in Nigerian.

  18. Putting all of the ethical considerations aside, just how much would a cloned Neanderthal tell us? It is my understanding that the environment in the womb has a significant impact on development. Given the assumption that the Neanderthal fetus would be implanted into a woman’s womb, it would be a Neanderthal genetically, but a homo sapiens in terms of the influences of the environment in the womb.

    Also, could someone explain why the Neanderthals are considered a separate species, rather than an isolated human population that thus developed its own characteristics? Isn’t it the case that what distinguishes different species is the inability to produce viable offspring that are themselves able to produce? If Neanderthals and modern humans could produce children that would grow and could themselves reproduce, wouldn’t that make them the same species?

    1. The line between “isolated population” and “species” isn’t hard and fast. Whether the two can produce viable offspring is usually one of the factors considered, but it’s not the only one and it isn’t the deal-breaker. Bottom line: Speciation is a subjective thing. Increasingly less subjective. But still subjective.

  19. No.

    Because we’ll turn them into soldiers, or slaves, or gestation pods for organs or something even more horrifying. You think people won’t want to hunt “the most dangerous game”?

    No. We’re a dangerous child-race still soiling our crib, putting us in charge of another sentient species is blood-chilling to me.

  20. I’m a little troubled by the assumption that the only pro-resurrection argument is “so that we can do experiments on him/her”. Even if it were true, you can do ethical experiments on a Neaderthal just as easily as you can on modern humans. And besides, there’s no barrier to creating creatures only for experiments, ask any purpose-bred research beagle. But really, research is the last of the reasons to do it.

    Better reasons:
    1) To restore an extinct species. There’s been so much loss of species diversity, reversing some of that has to be seen as an absolute good.
    2) Longer term, the potential to add genetic diversity to modern humans. Modern humans are incredibly inbred compared to most other species, due to a near-extinction event in our past, and reviving a closely related species might be an excellent start to rectifying that.

    As for practicalities — well, the first modern Neanderthal will have to be raised by a human family, and due to everything, will no doubt be a highly special-needs child. Still, I don’t think you’d have any trouble finding eager parents.

  21. It would not survive anyway. It is not equipped genetically to combat the bacteria and viruses around today. Big waste of money.

  22. I’m not against cloning, in general. I am against this.

    Even though I’m desperately curious to know what a Neanderthal would be like, I’m against it.

    There is no way that cloning a being that looks very different from humans (in ways we have come to think of as “inhuman” and “low-intelligence”), but that we think will have the mental and emotional capacity of a human, can ever work out well from an ethical standpoint.

    I just can’t see any way to study her that would not be a violation of her rights. And no reason to clone her if you weren’t going to study her. There’s too much wrong with this particular application of cloning, and not enough overwhelmingly good.

    Save the money and make me a baby mammoth.

  23. Read the short story N-Words by Ted Kosmatka for why this is a bad idea.

    Everything is all fine and dandy until they start taking over sports and mating with our women.

    The only reason Neanderthals died out is because their caloric requirements were unsustainable during the ice age. In today’s calorie rich times, they will have no problem taking over the human race and getting revenge on us.

    1. Yes, that was my exact same thought. At first they are treated like freaks but then one gets signed on a Gridiron team and it snowballs.

  24. It will be done. A female scientist who found out she can’t have kids anymore will adopt him. She’ll battle for the neanderthal’s rights, the government will try to take him away from her. She’ll hijack an airplane try to flee the US and will be killed. The world will be touched by the story, and they’ll make an award winning movie about it. The neanderthal will grow up, become a drug addict and write a book.

  25. Life on this planet isn’t something you can just introduce a long-extinct species into and have that species survive. The Neanderthal genome is adapted to a world that has been gone for what, something like 30000 years? The biosphere has since moved on, the germs have moved on, the plants have moved on, and humans have moved on. There’s no telling what in our world would cause the resurrected Neanderthal to suffer and die, and no telling what the Neanderthal’s biology would introduce to our world. It’d be Europeans with smallpox-infested-blankets all over again, but with no way to tell who would gain an advantage from it. And there’d be no responsible way to provide medical help to such a being.

    Don’t consign what would inevitably be a sentient being to an existence in a clean room / bubble, replete with legal and cultural persecution and thousands of radical religious zealots willing to go to nearly any length to kill it as an abomination (There are no Neanderthal in the Bible, Koran, or Old Testament) if they ever get past arguing whether it has a ‘soul’ or not.

  26. It’s pretty clear that modern society in general still doesn’t have gender equality or racial equality, I can only imagine how most people would treat a sentient of an extinct, generally-considered-inferior species (regardless of the actual intelligence of the Neanderthals, most humans would consider an extinct species to be inferior to H. Sapiens Sapiens.)

    Neaderthals went extince most likely due to H. Sap. Sap, either due to environmental pressure from our ancestors expanding their own territories, or directly via slaughter. (My personal theory is that H. Neanderthalensis looks human enough but not quite to fall into the uncanny valley, and were destroyed on that basis, but I’d love to be proven wrong.)

    1. I against my brother,
      my brother and I against my cousin,
      my family against my neighbor,
      my tribe against the stranger,
      my nation against the foreigner.

      The best way to convince people to put aside their differences is to show them someone more different still. Otherwise known as why invading the Middle East is a terrible idea.

  27. Agree with blackanvil. Once we’ve figured out how to treat Natives, who are the same as us except from less technology-oriented cultures, then we can start thinking about introducing new hominids.

  28. Being raised in human society worked fine for Nim Chimpsky, right up until the rather unhappy ending where the “natural language acquisition experiment” money ran out and “raising an intelligent nonhuman primate” wasn’t deemed worthy of funding. That wouldn’t be a problem in this scenario, as all parties seem to be agreeing that Neanderthals would be considered human, endowed with all the unalienable rights therein, albeit not homo sapiens proper.

    From a scientific standpoint, holy freaking crap would this be amazing. There is literally no field of human biology that would not be completely revolutionized by the introduction of another human species. None. It’s a non-question as to the scientific and medical value of this cloning.

    From an ethical standpoint, reintroducing a Neanderthal species would be even more beneficial than cloning humans. It would push the definition of what it means to be human, to be sapient. It would be an important blow against the anthrocentric viewpoint that humans are unique, special, somehow set above the common beasts of the earth when the Geico Caveman is standing right there saying “nah buddy, you’re just another primate.”

    My biggest concern is a moral one. Cloning isn’t perfect, even within the same species. A clone, especially the first few clones of a given type, is virtually guaranteed to die an unfortunate death from congenital birth defects arising from epigenetic factors. It may not be right to intentionally bring to term a human with that type of affliction, regardless of species. That, however, is not something we can answer here. That would make it eugenics, which is one of the few ethical fields universally regarded as horrifically bad to even consider. It’s a decision left up to the potential parents, and for good reason.

  29. Let’s hurry up with that narrow definition of a human. We need something, anything, to justify denying any newcomer to our society their rights.

  30. Of course! If we have Neandertals around to abuse and make fun of, chances are we Homo sapiens sapiens will forget about constantly screwin’ around with each other and World Peace will dawn. Neandertals are the world’s most perfect universal scapegoat.

  31. There is a great science fiction short story about this subject, and what could possibly happen to Homo sapiens if we do this. The story is called N-Words, by Ted Kosmatka. It is a short story, I found it in a Best SF #14 collection.

  32. My question would not be “should we” but “why would we”.
    What, precisely, would the benefit be from a scientific standpoint?

  33. If you define humanity by the amount of congruence with the common genome, people with Down syndrome (aka trisomy 21) have approximately the same percentage of variation (~4%) as do chimpanzees. Either you include chimps as “human” or you exclude people with Down syndrome, take your pick or choose another method of defining what it is to be human.

    1. I’d definitely pick another method. I don’t understand why anyone would look at numerical congruence of genotypes and ignore the phenotype, where chimps show tremendous more difference.

    2. You’re going to need a lot less than 4% to exclude most cancer tumors, which otherwise become human in their own right. Of course you might not consider them as human beings, but as human parts of a larger being that in this case has slightly different DNA. But then we still run into the peculiar fact that our sperm and eggs are not human, because they only share 50% of our DNA.

  34. I think Neanderthals walk among us, even now.

    I am just a monkeyman
    I’m glad you are a monkeywoman, too

    D@mn, evolutionary and mokey-related pop culture sure is fun!

  35. RedSun:
    Take your pick: sociological, immunological, neurological, and that’s off the top of my head. There’re any number of theories and concepts we’d love to test but can’t right now, because the only model we have are humans and the nearest animal analogue isn’t close enough. In the brain, for example, we could learn a hell of a lot from the differences between chimp and human brain activity in similar problem solving tasks, except the chimps can’t tell us what they’re thinking. Neanderthals could.

    BT Murtagh:
    No one uses your definition beyond the context of molecular evolution to begin with, so I feel comfortable choosing the last option. Your begging of the question in order to disingenuously force a point about animal rights has been noted, though.

  36. It’s important not to forget that the first attempts to clone a given species generally had hundreds of failures for every one success, meaning that you’re first hundred tries would be mostly miscarried, stillborn, or have severe defects resulting in suffering and dying infants. It would take lots of practice to get it right, and you’d be practicing with our closest known relatives, people who made tools, wore clothes, mated with our ancestors and buried their dead.

  37. Beelzebuddy: I wasn’t being disingenuous and it’s not my definition, I was responding to the last sentence of the excerpt:

    How much does a human genome need to be changed before the individual created from it is no longer considered human?

    Just to add to that (and demonstrate genuine disingenuousness), the forced-birth crowd are constantly trying to define a fertilized human ovum (single cell zygote) as an individual human being – there’s a bill in the Colorado legislature getting attention for doing that right now. That’s not too far from defining humanity by the chromosomes – there’s not that much besides chromosomes to go by at that stage of development.

  38. Ah you’re right, mea culpa. It would have helped had you quoted the offensive sentence directly, because you sure made it sound like you were a random troll with an axe to grind. The article’s definition is still wrong, though.

  39. Cloning? Come on! We are already surrounded by neanderthals, just look at some politicians or religious leaders.

    We have plenty of cavemen here. One more would be no difference.

  40. Just because something makes a good premise for a science-fiction novel doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Zie’d be miserable. Pet dodos, though? Why not.

  41. What are the rules against? We made them extinct before we can do it again.

    As long as they treat it like a person and not a chimp I think we are fine.

  42. An attempt was made to clone the Tasmanian Tiger recently, and abandoned as the DNA was too degraded. The last Tasmanian Tiger died about 100 years ago, and they have whole specimens preserved in jars.
    I don’t think getting a viable genome from a 30,000 year old neanderthal is remotely possible, and this is a non-issue.

  43. I’m all for it as long as we treat the resulting person as a person, preferably if we could bring back a few individuals.

    What we could learn about ourselves and them is invaluable.

    It certainly would expand our minds if there were a surviving near human primate besides homosapiens walking the earth.

    I’m also pretty certain that there will always be some percentage of people who are against this that will be vocal enough to stop it.

  44. I’m reading a book at the moment with brought back (sequenced) Neanderthals in, it’s quite funny – Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde.

  45. Of course we should, thats what we do. We don’t kill off people with genetic defects, I don’t see how bringing an extinct creature back to give it another chance is somehow immoral just because they look more similar to our species than say, the Tasmanian Tiger we ALREADY brought back.

  46. I think that it could be very good to know how they
    were and what their natural behavior was like, but
    it is very unfair that they create a living being
    only to be studied and experiment on, without a
    family or friends and not be able to live like lab
    rat whit out being able to scape.

    it is good that humanity learn more about the
    neanderthals but not at the cost of another living
    things life.

  47. “The Ugly Little Boy.” Possibly Isaac Asimov’s best short story. Early 1950s. Pretty well all of the non-technical arguments here are expressed in that story; we already know both why we should and why we should not do this. We’re just going through the ritual of reminding each other before we either do or don’t.

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