Update: In an interview with the Boston Herald, George Church says the idea that he was actively seeking someone for the project was a misinterpretation based on his translated Der Spiegel interview. From the Herald: "I'm certainly not advocating it," Church said. "I'm saying, if it is technically possible someday, we need to start talking about it today."
Maybe Neanderthals just get a bad rap. One well-credentialed Harvard scientist, at least, thinks they're more intelligent than they're portrayed, and he's willing test that theory out. He just needs an "adventurous" woman on board as a surrogate for a modern-day Neanderthal.
George Church of Harvard Medical School is a geneticist noted for his work on the Human Genome Project. If Neanderthals were re-introduced to the planet, he says, their way of thinking could be beneficial to Neanderthals and Homo sapiens alike. His plan to create a baby Neanderthal--"neo-Neanderthal," if you will--goes like this. 1) Make artificial Neanderthal DNA from bone samples. 2) Introduce that DNA into stem cells. 3) Put those stem cells into a human embryo, and the DNA will steer it toward becoming a Neanderthal. 4) Put that embryo in a woman and wait for her to give birth.
Church writes in his latest book, Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves, that an "extremely adventurous female human" is still needed, but in an interview with Der Spiegel, he said he believes it's "likely" to happen in his lifetime. From the interview:
If you guessed this might be the tiniest bit controversial, you're right, as The Independent points out. Many countries have banned human cloning--but does this legally qualify as human cloning? Will the neo-Neanderthal be able to survive modern diseases? And if it did, would it be accepted into society? That's not even getting into the ethical concerns of using a surrogate mother in the procedure.
So will Neanderthals make a comeback soon? Hard to say, maybe, but they've been extinct for about 33,000 years now, so they can wait a little longer.
"...Neanderthal cranial capacity is thought to have been as large as that of modern humans, perhaps larger, indicating that their brain size may have been comparable, or larger, as well. In 2008, a group of scientists created a study using three-dimensional computer-assisted reconstructions of Neanderthal infants based on fossils found in Russia and Syria. The study showed Neanderthal and modern human brains were the same size at birth, but by adulthood, the Neanderthal brain was larger than the modern human brain. They were much stronger than modern humans, having particularly strong arms and hands. Males stood 164–168 cm (65–66 in) and females about 152–156 cm (60–61 in) tall...
Neanderthal man lives in groups of 10 or so, were highly independent, plus without a written language depended up their memories.
It is written by the Sumerians history, the GODS made many versions of humans for the purpose to serve the GODS. Hence they put in our DNA or tweak it so we could communicate better with the GODS, have a high desire to gather more than we need, with an imagination to explorer the world around us. So we gain in some things and lost in our brains other things.
We are still greedy humans and will continue our greed until we consume and over populate the Earth, until our doom. Hopefully towards the end the Annunaki\Gods will swoop in and save us from ourselves.
Neanderthal, might smarter, have a better memory, is known to be highly independent, and stronger in our modern world if given an education, might dominate the current human species, lol.
It did exist 150,000 years largely unchanged, which means it was successful in the environment. We modern humans have only been around a short time.
It's adventurous to have a human baby?
I hate to rain on the parade... but if you want to go see a live Neanderthal, all you have to do is look in a mirror. All people (excluding Sub-Saharan Africans) have portions of their DNA that are Neanderthal DNA. Virtually everybody has some, with some having a bit more than others. I would expect in some cases the 2 groups lived together, in some cases it was probably more of a rape scenario. Regardless, we are them.
I don't know that I feel that trying to make a Neanderthal baby is in any way ethically correct. I mean... it will be basically a guinea pig, but also a person. I don't think any of us would like to live our lives as scientific guinea pigs from beginning to end. And we're talking about effectively a person here.
You are very correct sir. But the scientist wants a pure breed Neanderthal , not a mongrel\mutt human. lol.
How will you ever get to see how a Neanderthal learns and grows without actually interacting with them. By interacting with them, you will invariably change the way they learn and grow. I am also in the belief that by creating another human from the past, you will be playing God. With that comes a host of responsibilities which can not be dealt with by today's mere human race.
Hopefully this is just a thought experiment. If not, this is the kind of amoral aspiration that human cloning laws were meant to prevent. There is no moral difference between a scientist who thinks we should clone humans and the Nazi human experiments of the 1940's. Think about that and discuss.
Lots of Neanderthals in the government already been done.....
What if Neanderthals are smarter and better than modern humans, but since the Annunaki\aliens\GODS made the modern humans to serve them and do their work, also taught them how to group, hunt, make weapons and yes dominate and kill the Neanderthals. So when the aliens were helping modern man, they had an unfair advantage against the Neanderthal.
Now you take one Neanderthal and one modern man, raise them the same in our modern world, perhaps the Neanderthal might beat and come out on top in our modern world!
Where's the signup sheet to have sex with a neanderthal?
If the Neo neanderthal is born, what if he/she wants to marry and have a baby. Nobody can deny it as he will be a bonafide citizen. Will we allow to raise a new extinct race biologically discarded by natural selection?
He/she may carry gene resistant to HIV and many other genetic disease. His life will remain a guinea pig throughout his life. Or his immune system may not be able to defend himself with all the evolved bacteria and virus of modern world.
Quite an interesting topic. There are certainly pros and cons. Idealistically it would be a great service to revive them. If we humans went extinct, wouldn't it be nice to imagine that someday, an alien species might bring us back?
In this case, it would mean creating a population, not a guinea pig for study. Then it would be their choice regarding what they wish to share with us for study. We would need to grow significantly as a species before considering such things. We still have too many racist tendencies so imagine how some of us would treat a whole new species! On the other hand, it would eventually prepare us for potentially meeting aliens if that is ever to happen in the lifetime of the human population.
I don't agree that they are equivalent morally. It's a difficult ethical subject but ultimately the methods and purpose for such study is what guides the morality. Cloning will happen eventually and it will be used for good and bad. Such is our nature. Someday it may even be necessary!
Imagine what this woman would have to go through. I think of the exorcist when thinking of what kind of monster that they may create. If it's a boy they should name it "Bam Bam."
@marcoreid That is wrong, it is not a fact that we are neanderthals. That is a theory and the other one is that the DNA we share is from common ancestry.
Sounds like the beginning of a movie....Jurassic Trailer Park.
Humans may have been created by an Ancient super intelligent extraterrestrial species; they seeded galaxies including ours with life. I find nothing wrong with Humans creating their own life, as long as they are responsible and kind...
Unfortunately, early 21st century humanity isn't responsible and kind all of the time. So, perhaps it's wise for us not to clone humans, create artificial intelligence or life in general until we grow up as a species. Having children I suppose is important to ensure the survival of the human species, but we should stop there for the time being.
So, "Playing God"...I don't think we're mature enough for that, yet. And, yes I probably contradicted myself...but I'm a contradictor...
In addition to the many moral and ethical issues there is a big ugly legal issue; would a genetically pure H. neanderthalensis be a legal person with all human rights there implied? If what we think we know about H. neanderthalensis is true then the common sense answer is yes-however common sense and legality are seldom the same. What if we are wrong about H. neanderthalensis and this child(?) grows up to be a dumb violent brute, does he still get to vote?
Why stop at H. neanderthalensis? Lets bring back H. antecessor, H. erectus, and H. gautengensis. Maybe one of them will be smart enough to do unskilled labor, but genetically different enough to be legally a non-person. Better yet, can they bring back a few H. floresiensis in time for the next hobbit movie?
I have to quote that guy from Jurassic Park: "Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should."
What is the result of an experiment going to be? We have animal rights movements. Average Neanderthal guy should have at least the same right as our average dog.
They should rather clone some dinosaurs and have them being a prey instead of wolves or school kids.
Somebody should concider working on a four-assed monkey too!
Hmmm, I wonder if part of the characteristic of a great leader in our world is having more percentage of Neanderthal in their blood. The Gods made humans to serve them. Neanderthals had larger brains are independent in social structure; good characteristics for a leader! The Gods prefer us to be good sheep and not be so curious of the world around us... Interesting.
Current day humans come in so much diversity. To truly understand Neanderthals, I believe we have to bring back several thousand, with all having a DNA varied; they could not be clones.
Of course, once we bring back so many, would that be a good idea?
Modern man is a result of an outside force making us, being that is written the GODS made man. Bringing back Neanderthal man in full force would be such a natural thing to do for mother Earth, I think the GODS and modern man would rebel. And yet bring back Neanderthal Man could in fact be a very correct thing to do...
I have read Neanderthal man also possess a large vocal box, suggesting they had a spoken language too and not a lot of grunting.
I think Neanderthal man would do extremely in our modern world.... yes indeedy!
Why not we clone Albert Einstein, Sir Issac Newton and the likes first, why should we go backward instead of forward?
wouldnt it die?
we evolve to survive in our surrounding
would the babies survive a common cold?
Interesting proposition to say the least
A strange idea. Look no further then the nearest redhead for evidence of neanderthal interbreeding. (and enhanced immunities we gained from interbreeding) Immunities are typically inherited from the mother. (its the reason that the swine flu "pandemic" was anything but) People have inherited immunities they are unaware of. (otherwise our population would be tiny) Plus cloning humans is unethical, why would you condemn someone to a life thats a quarter of the normal expectancy?
At least the stereotype of mad scientist is alive and well.
It is often said, we modern humans as children do not eat dirt or play with enough dirt to develop our immunities.
And yet Neanderthal man lived close to the environment and given a stable diet, perhaps could live 3 times longer than what is recorded from the archeology record.
These Neanderthals may have an immune system greatly stronger than our own and our appendix, gall bladder and other organs witch are often thought of as currently useless for modern man, might be used in full function for the Neanderthal man.
It's genetics would probably make it better able to survive than us. With our a couple thousand years of mutations to unravel it's DNA like ours has.
I am an Adventurous young women who defiantly has a love for science and child development. I have always had in mind that i would one day be a surrogate for an amazing family and it would be such an honor, to be one for the future.Along with my passion for science, i have a deep understanding of how developing minds work ... it would be amazing to bring such a corner stone in our evolutionary processes back to life, to only better mankind.
Hmmm, sounds like you are kind offering a womb for rent?
By the way, have you ever seen the movie alien? Be careful what you offer or wish for!
jabailo and cookies....congratulations you used ellipses so according to the new laws of coincidence you are now me on another account...hell let's add that stoner guy in to the mix since he spaces his paragraphs. YOu all write like me and I am sure if I bothered to click your accounts one of you made it recently. By this logic that has no faults you are me...I am now like 9 people this is great!