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Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2008 :  10:10:49  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This might belong to the politic or social folder almost as much as here.

The question is: should we clone back the Neanderthals?

I say no. I am not for cloning Homo sapiens for ethical reasons and, for the same reasons, would be opposed to cloning Homo neanderthalis.


Which begs the next question: at which stage in their evolution do human become human and when do human rights start to apply?

Evolution being a continuous uninterrupted process any firm line to differentiate between human and 'not quite yet human' will be arbitrary by definition.

I'd go for Homo erectus myself, the expansion of the species, the use of more sophisticated tools and the ability to make fire suggests that they had their own complex culture.


What do you guys think?

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan - 1996

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2008 :  11:42:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Off hand, I would say that Neanderthals were human, just like the french are human. Problem with cloning them back into existence would be how they would be used. I mean they just might and up being exploited by some Insurance company...

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2008 :  12:03:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Can't think of any good reason to do it.

My understanding is that we (homo sapiens) did not evolve from the neanderthal line. Completely separate branch in the hominid tree.

From Wiki: While the debate remains unsettled, evidence from sequencing mitochondrial DNA indicates that no significant gene flow occurred between H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens, and, therefore, the two were separate species that shared a common ancestor about 660,000 years ago.[42][43] In 1997, Dr. Mark Stoneking, then an associate professor of anthropology at Pennsylvania State University, stated: "These results [based on mitochondrial DNA extracted from Neanderthal bone] indicate that Neanderthals did not contribute mitochondrial DNA to modern humans… Neanderthals are not our ancestors."

I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2008 :  12:34:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

Off hand, I would say that Neanderthals were human, just like the french are human. Problem with cloning them back into existence would be how they would be used. I mean they just might and up being exploited by some Insurance company...
We Froggies do not have rickets!

I find it unlikely that such a clone would survive for very long due to environmental factors, making it certainly a ready victim for the insurance thieves. Same for mammoths, which have been bandied about for cloning projects even before their geome had been sequenced. I think that these creatures would live short, miserable lives.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Grim Ungainly
New Member

USA
8 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2008 :  13:08:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Grim Ungainly a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by astropin

Can't think of any good reason to do it.

My understanding is that we (homo sapiens) did not evolve from the neanderthal line. Completely separate branch in the hominid tree.

From Wiki: While the debate remains unsettled, evidence from sequencing mitochondrial DNA indicates that no significant gene flow occurred between H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens, and, therefore, the two were separate species that shared a common ancestor about 660,000 years ago.[42][43] In 1997, Dr. Mark Stoneking, then an associate professor of anthropology at Pennsylvania State University, stated: "These results [based on mitochondrial DNA extracted from Neanderthal bone] indicate that Neanderthals did not contribute mitochondrial DNA to modern humans… Neanderthals are not our ancestors."


I think there are plenty of things that we could learn from a cloned neanderthal. The bones that we find in the fossil record cannot tell us anything about much of the important parts of human evolution. It would no doubt be very helpful to examine how Neanderthal society worked. Thing is, any experiment to try and create a neanderthal community would no doubt be close to impossible, as well as being totally unethical.

I think if there was any science done with neanderthal cloning, it will not be nearly that complex, probably not going past an fetus.

"Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly."
Edgar Allen Poe
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2008 :  13:57:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
But if Homo Sapiens had died out and Neanderthals had gone on to develop advanced civilizations and technologies, wouldn't you want them to resurrect us?


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2008 :  14:23:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Where would you find a woman(?) prepared to carry a Neanderthal clone fetus to terms?
Or would someone suggest another primate as a host, without being able to get its explicit consent?

Edited: Ok, now I read far enough into the article to see they are suggesting a chimp as a host. I can see several objections/obstacles to that. If I'm not mistaken, a Neanderthal is a bit larger than a chimp. What would happen at the end of the term? Do a caecarian and take out the foetus prematurely, or letting the chimp carry until full term (how long is that anyway? what if a Neanderthal require two months longer than a chimp?) and then sacrifice the chimp? Is it even possible, considering Neanderthal DNA probably is closer to Homo Sapien Sapien than Pan Troglodyte or Pan Pansicus.
Before doing so, I'd be more interested if it's possible to genetically interbreed the above mention species.

A chimp (including bonobo) is as close to human as we get, not counting Southern Baptist Rednecks, so I still think it's highly unethical to do this as we cannot ask the chimp for consent.


Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
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"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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Collateralmurder.
Edited by - Dr. Mabuse on 11/25/2008 14:37:41
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2008 :  14:30:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

Where would you find a woman(?) prepared to carry a Neanderthal clone fetus to terms?
Ask for volunteers. I'm sure you would have no trouble finding a woman who would want to be a part of a such a historic endeavor.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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Siberia
SFN Addict

Brazil
2322 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2008 :  14:44:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Siberia's Homepage  Send Siberia an AOL message  Send Siberia a Yahoo! Message Send Siberia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert

Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

Where would you find a woman(?) prepared to carry a Neanderthal clone fetus to terms?
Ask for volunteers. I'm sure you would have no trouble finding a woman who would want to be a part of a such a historic endeavor.



*volunteers?*
I would. I think. Maybe.

"Why are you afraid of something you're not even sure exists?"
- The Kovenant, Via Negativa

"People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs."
-- unknown
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astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2008 :  19:02:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert

But if Homo Sapiens had died out and Neanderthals had gone on to develop advanced civilizations and technologies, wouldn't you want them to resurrect us?




Why? For what purpose?

We won, they lost, end of story.

Had they won why would there be any reason to bring us back?

I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2008 :  19:21:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
First, I have no objection to human cloning. Even as nothing more than a means of reproduction. It is never likely to replace the old-fashioned method.

Mostly though when a scientist says "clone" in the context of humans they are refering to somatic cell nuclear transfer to create a stem cell line. I am strongly in favor of this.

As for whole cloth cloning of a human being, I'm shocked it hasn't been done by now. The technology is not complicated.


Filthy said:
I find it unlikely that such a clone would survive for very long due to environmental factors, making it certainly a ready victim for the insurance thieves. Same for mammoths, which have been bandied about for cloning projects even before their geome had been sequenced. I think that these creatures would live short, miserable lives.

There are plenty of places that replicate mammoth habitat. The proposed project for "cloning" a mammoth is not really cloning. It requires intact/viable sperm from a frozen mammoth and cross fertilizing an elephant. After you have several of these elephant/mammoth hybrids you start interbreeding them until you get a critter that is mostly mammoth and you use some more frozen mammoth sperm to fertilize their eggs. The end result would be almost entirely a woolly mammoth.

Cloning up a neadertal.... I can't think of a good reason to do it exxcept to learn how to do it. But I can think of less controversial species to begin with.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2008 :  20:38:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Grim Ungainly
It would no doubt be very helpful to examine how Neanderthal society worked.

I can say with reasonable certainty that cloning would NOT be the way to achieve this goal. Humans, and MOST likely neanderthals, acquire(d) social "competence" through interaction with other individuals of their own species. How would the cloned neanderthals acquire the culture of their forebears?

Thing is, any experiment to try and create a neanderthal community would no doubt be close to impossible, as well as being totally unethical.

I would say it would be unethical. How would they be treated? Like lab rats? Like animals in a zoo? Should we attempt to integrate them into society? How much would they stand out?

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2008 :  20:44:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm inclined to think we should not clone Neanderthals, even assuming we could do so with no genetic damage. Nor should we clone any of our ancestors or other collateral lines, clear back to the common ancestor of humans and chimps.

Nor can I think of any reason that Neanderthals, had they been the winners during the paleolithic, should clone our extinct species. They wouldn't "owe" us anything, and their meddling might be inhumane.

There may or may not be some good science to be done by cloning a Neanderthal embryo, but the case for it should be overwhelmingly clear, it it were to be tried.

Cloning of mammoths, etc., however, should be attempted, because it's just plain super cool.

I suspect that when this is done, it will be by using modern African elephant DNA as the starting point, with modifications only in the genomal areas that may be found to differ. As I understand it, recovered mammoth DNA is very fractured, but scientists are beginning to figure out how the parts once fit together, largely by comparison to the template of elephant DNA. So the knowledge and the skills to make a healthy mammoth are likely to develop in the next few years.

A smilodon or two would be cool, too.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 11/25/2008 20:47:53
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2008 :  20:47:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by astropin
We won, they lost, end of story.
If the circumstances had been reversed, I don't think most people would be able to accept the end of the human species so easily. I know I wouldn't. For instance, if the entire human race faced extinction, wouldn't it be great if a future alien race could bring people back on a distant planet? Wouldn't you feel better knowing that humanity would live on? I would. And I think Neanderthals might have felt the same way about their kind when they were dying out, hoping some miracle might come along and save them. We--the species that originally out-competed them--might one day be the ones to welcome them back into existence. That's a pretty powerful thought.

As far as "why," I just see it as a basic desire to want to exist. Why do we bother to exist now? Isn't it better to exist than not to exist?


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 11/25/2008 20:49:14
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2008 :  20:50:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert

Originally posted by astropin
We won, they lost, end of story.
I don't think most people would be able to accept the end of the human species so easily. I know I wouldn't. For instance, if the entire human race faced extinction, wouldn't it be great if a future alien race could bring people back on a distant planet? Wouldn't you feel better knowing that humanity would live on? I would. And I think Neanderthals might have felt the same way about their kind when they were dying out, hoping some miracle might come along and save them. We--the species that originally out-competed them--might one day be the ones to welcome them back into existence. That's a pretty powerful thought.

As far as "why," I just see it as a basic desire to want to exist. Why do we bother to exist now? Isn't it better to exist than not to exist?


A agree about not wanting the human race to go quietly into the dark. But hypothetical modern Neanderthals, had they "won," would not have any such compulsion to resurrect us.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2008 :  20:54:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner
But hypothetical modern Neanderthals, had they "won," would not have any such compulsion to resurrect us.
How do you figure that?


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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