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Old 01-24-2013, 08:15 AM   #1
Hamlet53
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I'm a 21st Century Neanderthal Man but I don't want to be here!

Interesting radio program this about the possibility of bringing back long extinct species through synthetic biology.

Is Creating New Life — Maybe Even A Neanderthal — Possible?


The discussion of the ethics of bringing back Neanderthals in the modern world, and how they would be treated, reminded me of the story The Ugly Boy by Isaac Asimov.

It might be a good thing to bring back the dodo bird should any of this really become possible. I recall reading about a tree species that only exists on an island in the Indian Ocean that is likely to become extinct. It evolved in the presence of dodo birds and so its seed was adapted to require passage through the dodo birds digestive track in order to allow germination and growth of a new tree. So many examples of the destructive consequences of the arrogance of homo sapiens.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:26 PM   #2
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Well, the destinction between possible and desirable seems to become the big question of this century.

What is actually bad in "creating" a Dodo or an Neanderthal?
While the Dodo was extinct by men (so why not give him a second chance?) Neanderthals died for reasons still unknown to science, but apparently they were quite intelligent and might even be able to cope with modern life.
The more interesting aspect is what you do with them once you made them (at least with the Neanderthals, the Dodos might end as tasty alternative to chicken (giving poohbear_nc just another fit)). Raise them as humans and send them off once they are 18 or keep them as guinea pig and then discard them-remember, we talk about near human beings.

Will they have to fight for their humanship like the bicentennial man in Asimov's short story or will they be considered as advanced chimpanzees and kept in labs for their whole life.

So hopefully the conclusion goes to " not desirable" in the long run...
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:14 AM   #3
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While the Dodo was extinct by men (so why not give him a second chance?) Neanderthals died for reasons still unknown to science, but apparently they were quite intelligent and might even be able to cope with modern life.
Neanderthal genome reveals interbreeding with humans

So it seems both extinctions were brought about by Mankind, but the Neanderthals had a lot more fun going...
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:25 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by troll05 View Post
Well, the destinction between possible and desirable seems to become the big question of this century.

What is actually bad in "creating" a Dodo or an Neanderthal?
While the Dodo was extinct by men (so why not give him a second chance?) Neanderthals died for reasons still unknown to science, but apparently they were quite intelligent and might even be able to cope with modern life.
The more interesting aspect is what you do with them once you made them (at least with the Neanderthals, the Dodos might end as tasty alternative to chicken (giving poohbear_nc just another fit)). Raise them as humans and send them off once they are 18 or keep them as guinea pig and then discard them-remember, we talk about near human beings.

Will they have to fight for their humanship like the bicentennial man in Asimov's short story or will they be considered as advanced chimpanzees and kept in labs for their whole life.

So hopefully the conclusion goes to " not desirable" in the long run...
That was actually the point of The Ugly Boy. A time machine was constructed that allowed pulling a Neanderthal child into a modern laboratory. The way that worked in the story a small volume of surroundings had to be brought forward with the child and it was very expensive to maintain that in the present. So when the scientists had learned all they wanted he was sent back (with a interesting plot twist).

Another fascinating issue raised in the program was if one could produce an exact genetic copy of a important historical figure would that that person be the same person if raised in the modern world. Say for example if a certain baby was born today with the same genetics as one thought to have been born roughly 2013 years ago in what is the current location of the state of Israel would he turn out to be the same person?
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:34 AM   #5
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...Say for example if a certain baby was born today with the same genetics as one thought to have been born roughly 2013 years ago in what is the current location of the state of Israel would he turn out to be the same person?
Nope. No more than identical twins end up exactly the same.

This is somewhat fascinating to me though:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_gene_synthesis

http://io9.com/5903221/meet-xna-the-...the-real-thing

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...-life-science/

Last edited by kennyc; 01-26-2013 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:01 AM   #6
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Bring back Neandertals?! Do you know how long it took my people to get rid of those guys?!?!
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