In today’s culture there seems to be little difference between “science can” and “science does.” So news that scientists are close to completing a DNA sequence of a Neanderthal man should leave us unsettled.
Fox News reports:
As scientists come closer to completing a draft sequence of the Neanderthal genome, creating a living person from an ancient DNA sequence is becoming a real possibility, according to Archaeology Magazine.
Scientists announced Wednesday that they have pieced together most of the DNA of a man who lived in Greenland about 4,000 years ago, a pioneering feat that revealed hints about his appearance and even an increased risk of baldness.
It’s the first genome from an ancient human, showing the potential for what one expert called a time machine for learning about the biology of ancient people.
So we’re looking at a real possibility of cloning a Neanderthal sometime in the future.
Firstly, we’re not even sure why neanderthals disappeared. We might have just mated with them right out of existence. Or we may have just killed them off.
Either way it’s not good. If they want to resume with the mating, I’m not sure how keen how many of us would be with that. And abstinence-only education for neanderthals? Well, I’m not putting much hope in that. On the other hand, if we killed them off all those years ago they might get a little ticked when they find out. So we should all definitely agree to not tell them. And let’s remember if we killed them off all those years ago it’s possible we had a darn good reason.
But seriously, this would be a rather dangerous position. Would Neanderthals be seen as “human?” We know that us humans can be pretty stingy with that moniker. Maybe they’d just be “potential humans” so we could do with them what we want.
Soon politicians could be promising “A Neanderthal in every basement” to handle menial chores around the house or some lawn responsibilities.
Could we “terminate” them if we grow dissatisfied with them or they simply become too expensive to keep around? Could they possibly be a middle step in scientific research. First you test things on mice and chimps. But before you go to human trials why not try it on a Neanderthal. See what happens. Why not?
You might think all this is just goofy fun but how long do you actually think it’ll be between the day that science is able to clone a neanderthal and the day that it does?