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Biotech Science

Scientist Seeks 'Adventurous Human Woman' For Neanderthal Baby 697

Posted by Soulskill
from the try-craigslist dept.
theodp writes "Harvard geneticist George Church recently told Der Spiegel he's close to developing the necessary technology to clone a Neanderthal, at which point all he'd need is an 'adventurous human woman' to be a surrogate mother for the first Neanderthal baby to be born in 30,000 years (article in German, translation to English). Church said, 'We have lots of Neanderthal parts around the lab. We are creating Neanderthal cells. Let's say someone has a healthy, normal Neanderthal baby. Well, then, everyone will want to have a Neanderthal kid. Were they superstrong or supersmart? Who knows? But there's one way to find out.'"
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Scientist Seeks 'Adventurous Human Woman' For Neanderthal Baby

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  • by eksith (2776419) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @11:22PM (#42637061) Homepage
    Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov [wikipedia.org]. They all resulted in failure (allegedly, some conspiracy theorists insist he was at least partially successful). I don't think that he'll have difficulty finding volunteers, only finding a place with neighbors who aren't keen on pitchforks and torches.
  • by WarSpiteX (98591) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @11:26PM (#42637087) Homepage

    I don't mean to sound too flippant about this, but isn't this around the time in the movie that a Morgan Freeman type of character says "People were not meant to play at god!"?

  • Unethical (Score:5, Interesting)

    by markdavis (642305) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @11:46PM (#42637177)

    I consider myself very scientific, fairly worldly, and pretty open minded.

    But to me this is unethical.

    Ask yourself just some simple preliminary questions such as: If the resulting semi-human is self aware, what rights will it/he/she have? Will it/he/she be a cage animal? Will it be sterilized or allowed to reproduce? And if so, with which other species or semi-species? Is this fair to it/he/she? Will it/he/she be allowed to vote? To own property? Be allowed or required to work? To choose a field of education? To be free of staring, poking prodding?

  • by bfandreas (603438) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @11:51PM (#42637215)
    ...or they were actually decent and genuinely nice people.
    Let me be the first to introduce a new concept into the theory of evolution: the survival of the utter bastards.
  • Re:Reprehensible. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bfandreas (603438) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @12:01AM (#42637251)

    If this actually happens, I hope that the kid beats the living shit out of the asshole who wanted him for a lab animal.

    -jcr

    This usually involves burning windmills and crowds who can get their hands on pitchforks and torches.
    But from a scientific point of view it would be a TRIUMPH!
    Does the article say if he also plans to clone a bride for him?

  • Re:30000 years? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Sunday January 20, 2013 @12:03AM (#42637259)

    Why not have one of those Canadians mate with an Ecuadorian.

    As a Canadian male, I can honestly say I'd have no problem with that.

    Yes, most of us (excepting most Africans and Chinese) have Neanderthal genes in us. We inter-bred. Apparently, we gained much of our resistance to noxious germs from them. Neanderthals aren't dead. They merged with us Homo Sapiens, and apparently willingly for the most part (as far as can be told).

    I was happy to hear it. The prior theory I heard was that we either/or out-evolved/genocided them. Cool.

  • Re:No he's not (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bfandreas (603438) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @12:06AM (#42637273)
    When the "specimen" is a sentient being then suddenly "ethics" enter the equation. We'd need to resolve those first.
    Since the definition of "ethics" is basically "something that can't be resolved or defined" I think we bought us another 30k years.

    There. Job done. Splendid. Another cup of tea?
  • by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Sunday January 20, 2013 @12:10AM (#42637283)

    Were they superstrong or supersmart? Who knows? But there's one way to find out

    Well I don't know about the former, but given they are all dead I'm pretty sure about the latter.

    So, you don't much care for SciFi. Superman's planet's gone. Vulcan's gone. The Asgard are gone. All super smart and powerful, long before your puny ancestors were even capable of wallowing in the mud onto dry land.

    Shallow as a pane of glass, you are.

  • Re:No he's not (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kerrbear (163235) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @02:51AM (#42637767)
    Even if somebody did do this to study a real Neanderthal, I can see a potential problem. We know that cloning results in many failures and deformities before success (Dolly was after many tries I believe). So how could we know if it was a "normal" Neanderthal? It might be born deformed or mentally handicapped simply because of the cloning process. Then our perception of what they were like would be skewed by the process.
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @04:59AM (#42638079) Journal

    Dogs are more vicious then humans, but we humans completely dominate dogs. Cats are vicious bastards but the number of incidents of cats killing people are remarkably low (because cats are very good at hiding evidence no doubt).

    Viciousness is NOT a survival trait unlike what a LOT of people believe. Darwin shocked people NOT by telling them they were descended from monkeys but by telling them nature was nasty and so were monkeys. BUT more recent research among monkeys has filmed evidence that for instance a male monkey that beats the old male leader and then goes to town on the females WILL be beaten up by ALL the females and then the old defeated male will be put back in power, with the help of some trusted lieutenants and an understanding he no longer has exclusive access to the females but still access. The defeated vicious monkey is all alone and will die from his wound without a group to protect him.

    What monkey sires more children? The old wise leader who knows not to push his position? His lieutenants who can learn peacefully under a wise leader while fucking their brains out? Or the vicious monkey who had access for just a few days?

    Genghis Khan is often called vicious but was he? His military approach was to kill the elite in a country and then treat the peasants pretty damned nicely. Gosh and who tells us he was a bad guy? Our elite... because they prefer to have their peasants kill each other off while they sit miles behind the front. That is how wars are supposed to be fought, destroy the body so you can strike a deal with the head. While GK killed the head and then was nice to the body.

    French revolution is often said to be brutal. By the English... nobles who damn well knew that if the idea of a benevolent revolution and rule by the people was to spread, their necks would be next on the block.

    Which ape is more successful, the Chimpanzee or the Bonobo (the make love not war ape)? Fact is strive costs a LOT of energy, the more relaxed you are, the more you can survive in hard times. There is a group of Baboons (typically a vicious monkey) that lives peacefully in gigantic groups because their environment is so poor in nutrition, they have to remain peaceful because fighting requires to much energy.

    The thing to remember here is that there have been load of vicious cultures in human history. And they died out. Image if we acted like cats and each time we saw another cat, a half hour staredown was in order. How would we ever make even a small village work? Let alone metropolis with tens of millions of people living statistically in perfect peace with each other.

    We are NOT a vicious monkey, are the industrious ant or the harmonious bee. Sure there are incidents but statistcally speaking all the murders in NY are insignificant compared to the total amount of human interaction going on. Netherlands Amsterdam, 1 mil people, 40 or so murders. A bee-hive, 44k a dozen murders (new queen killing other queens) and that is NOTHING to say of the killing off of elderly or sick bees, euthanisia is legal in Holland but it is not the "lets round up the oldies on Friday" that Fox news told you it was. It is Thursdays.

    It has been proven that sleeping together with a loved one reduces stress, lowers heartbeat (slower is better as you only get so many beats per heart) and prolongs life in humans and chipmunks. Hell, indoor cats can be evil all they want but exceed 20 years in lifespan while their relatives on the street barely reach their teens. Viciousness doesn't pay of long term. oh, sometimes there are hickups but overal, the human race has grown ever more peaceful. And YES, long standing conflicts like the middle east or Afghanistan and Iraq PROOF this. The OLD way we saw all to recently in Ruwanda. It hasn't happened in a long time, not on that scale. Even the holocaust was different, Ruwanda was the people killing people. The germans have at least pretended (even if it is part a lie) that it was a small group that did the actual killing. The rest just stood by

  • by bfandreas (603438) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @06:07AM (#42638213)
    You are quite spot on. Here's my take.
    I've been preaching time and again that cooperation is our biggest competitive advantage.
    Intelligence and opposable thumbs and the ability to sweat and so on only amplify what we can achieve by cooperation.

    That being said we are very vicious when it comes to things other than us. Us does not even encompass the whole human race.

    What I have to say may come over as a bit left leaning eco-nutter drivel. But I can't offer any easy solutions because I see very little alternatives.

    We happily go at war with each other and will a hundred years later not even know why or if it was worth it.
    We will happily participate in genocide.
    We keep animals in nasty conditions so we can have cheap food.
    We happily leave our fellow humans to rot as long as we are fine.
    We are unable to cooperate on a global level and barely functional on a national level.

    I could bore you to tears with the complete list but I lost interest myself.
    the gist is, we still are so primitive we can't deal with each other beyond our immediate circle of about 100 persons. It's been a while since I read it but there was a report that our empathy level goes severely down the less well we know a person. And obviously we can't know too many people well enough. Which means that we are somewhat stuck with brains that don't properly function beyond the scale of a tribal level.

    Thankfully we recognized that in the 18th century and came up with the concept of Human Rights as a crutch to lean on when our empathy doesn't work. We suspected something like this for a lot longer, but the concept was only finalized 200-300 years ago. Quite recently actually.

    So there still is hope for us. But only if we do not give in to our gut feeling. Which propably ironically kept us alive up until now.

    Homo sapiens sapiens and confused about it.
  • Re:30000 years? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sribe (304414) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @09:52AM (#42638937)

    . We inter-bred. Apparently, we gained much of our resistance to noxious germs from them. Neanderthals aren't dead. They merged with us Homo Sapiens, and apparently willingly for the most part (as far as can be told).

    There's proof now that we interbred. However, there's also solid evidence that we ate them. So we fucked them and ate them, depending on our mood. Just like sheep, cows, etc.

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