Thursday, November 27, 2008

Is the world ready for a cloned Neanderthal?

There's a cloning wish list at the NY Times this week by columnist Nicholas Wade. At the top? Neanderthals. Second on the list is another human ancestor, the controversial "homo floresiensis", otherwise known as the "hobbit."

Check out the NY Times piece (there's some other cool stuff on there like Pterodactyls and giant sea scorpions), but don't expect any particularly good reasons for taking on the bizarre, daring challenge of cloning a recent human ancestor (
Slate called it "repugnant," actually… and Pound360 kind of agrees).

The best reason given for cloning a Neanderthal? "No one knows if Neanderthals could speak." That's the best reason Wade seemed to be able to come up with. But think about this for a moment. What would you do with a Neanderthal? If you created one, would it stay in a paddock at the zoo or a hotel room? Would researchers bring it along to Thanksgiving dinner? What if it killed some people? Would it be accused of murder and face trial?

The cloning wish list was inspired by recent news that Pennsylvania State University researcher Stephan Schuster could
clone a mammoth for just $10 million, and the buzz surrounding a German team that's close to decoding the Neanderthal genome.

(Pound360 originally came across
this story at Slashdot)


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Pound360 Archive

About Me

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.