National Geographic News
A reconstruction of a Neanderthal female.

A reconstruction of a Neanderthal female.

Photograph by Joe McNally, National Geographic

Virginia Hughes

for National Geographic News

Published March 6, 2013

For now, the Neanderthal genome is an abstract string of billions of DNA letters stored in computer databases. But it naturally sparks the imagination: Could scientists use that genetic blueprint to create neo-Neanderthals in the flesh?

In the not-so-distant future, advances in genetic engineering might enable that feat, experts say. But whether such a resurrection should happen is another story.

Video: Recipe for Resurrection

Since the 1996 birth of Dolly the sheep, the world's first cloned mammal, scientists have greatly expanded and improved on cloning techniques. They have cloned dogs, cats, rats, pigs, and cows, among other species. In 2003, researchers in Spain were the first to bring back an extinct species—the Pyrenean ibex, a wild mountain goat also called a bucardo—though the clone only lived for a few minutes.

All of these examples relied on a technique called nuclear transfer. Starting with an intact cell (fresh or frozen) of the animal they'd like to clone, scientists first remove the nucleus, where DNA resides, and insert it into a hollowed-out egg cell of the same or a related species. This hybrid egg is then implanted into the uterus of a female surrogate for gestation, and voilà: The surrogate gives birth to a clone.

But there are no intact Neanderthal cells—far from it. Decoding the Neanderthal genome meant piecing together many DNA fragments painstakingly extracted from 40,000-year-old bones. So how could cloning be possible?

 

 

mammoth picture

 

In his 2012 book Regenesis, Harvard geneticist George Church proposes a different approach for cloning extinct animals whose genome has been sequenced. It starts with a healthy cell of a closely related species—cloning a Neanderthal, for example, could start with a stem cell from a modern human. Using new tricks of genetic engineering, researchers could make adjustments to the DNA in the human cell so it matches the code of the Neanderthal.

That's more difficult than it sounds, as there are millions of spots in the genome that are different in modern humans and Neanderthals. Church points to a new technique called CRISPR that makes it possible to edit multiple sites in the genome at once. A paper describing the process was published in Science in January. With that publication, "genome engineering of mammalian cells just took a big step forward," he says.

Though the techniques aren't sophisticated or cheap enough yet to recreate a Neanderthal genome, Church thinks the idea is plausible. "Going from engineered cells to whole organism has been especially well established in mice, and [there's] no obvious reason why it would fail in other mammals."

Ethical Questions

If a human cell could be Neanderthalized, it would be implanted into the womb of a surrogate mother, either a woman or a chimp, and then develop into a fetus. But this step, too, would be extremely challenging. "We know from cloning experience that there's a very high failure rate," says geneticist James Noonan of Yale University.

In the case of the Pyrenean ibex, for example, the Spanish scientists created 439 eggs containing the extinct species' nuclei, but only 57 developed into embryos. Five survived the full term of pregnancy, and just one was born. Numbers like that would likely inflict a heavy emotional and physical toll on human surrogates.

"What's most likely to happen is you're going to get really sick or lethal mutations. You're going to get a lot of dead proto-Neanderthals," Noonan says.

Even if a clone did survive, the ethical dilemmas of raising a Neanderthal would be complicated. In some ways, Neanderthals were similar to modern humans. They used tools and created art, and they likely had the mental capacity for language and abstract thinking.

In other respects, though, Neanderthals were quite different. They went extinct before the agricultural revolution, so they would probably have difficulty stomaching our modern diet, heavy in grains and dairy. Their physical appearance—short and stocky, with big heads and strong muscles—would make them stick out, too.

"I can imagine there would be a serious emotional toll to be raised as a Neanderthal kid with a bunch of non-Neanderthal people," says Trenton Holliday, an anthropologist at Tulane University.

For example, if the Neanderthal child was far stronger than modern humans, he or she might be excluded from playing sports teams, Holliday says. If intellectually disabled—or intellectually gifted—he or she might be put into isolating educational programs.

Church agrees that these ethical issues are important to consider in any cloning project. "For any species, we want to maximize the chances that they will be born and live physically and socially healthy lives," he says.

What's the Point?

Some scientists wonder whether there is any valid scientific reason to bring back a Neanderthal clone.

"You can have a Neanderthal genome growing in a human mother, but of course the environment and development, and also the educational environment and cognitive stimuli surrounding anyone being born these days would be totally different from a Paleolithic environment," says Carles Lalueza-Fox, a researcher at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona.

Rather than bring back a whole Neanderthal, some scientists say it would be more useful—and ethically palatable—to focus on making a few of its cells.

This approach could uncover biological differences between Neanderthals and humans, allowing anthropologists to better understand the two species' divergent evolutionary histories. A cellular comparison might even lead to new insights on modern diseases.

"If you had said to me ten years ago that we're going to learn something about Neanderthals and it's going to affect the health of humans living now, I would not have believed that," says John Hawks, an anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Video: Should We Resurrect Extinct Species?

But the Neanderthal genome changed everything.

In 2010, after scouring Neanderthal bones found in a Croatian cave for bits of viable genetic material, scientists released the first draft of our ancient cousin's genome. It rocked the field of anthropology for revealing, among other things, that some of these stocky, big-headed hominids had interbred with the ancestors of modern humans.

Neanderthals' climate, diet, and disease exposures were not the same as those of our ancestors, and left different adaptive marks on their genome. And yet Neanderthals are far more similar to modern humans than the animals commonly used to study disease, such as fruit flies and rodents.

"There are issues that humans have now, where it's very plausible that Neanderthal biology might actually show us something," Hawks says. "Our knowledge of the evolutionary process could guide us toward possible treatments."

For example, a 2011 study found that modern humans carry variants in genes related to the immune system that Neanderthals did not. To learn more about the biological consequences of these genetic differences, Noonan says, "You might take a human immune cell and make it more Neanderthal-like, and then see whether or not it has the same kind of capacity to respond to pathogens."

Hawks agrees. He points out that modern humans carry genetic mutations linked to autoimmune disease and celiac disease—a painful gastrointestinal condition that stems from an immune reaction to gluten—that the Neanderthals didn't carry. Hawks even suggests that comparing Neanderthal and human cells could help researchers fight modern ailments.

"We're looking at an ancient population that had thick, dense bones and strong muscles," Hawks says. "If you could find some way to tweak the human biology in a way to make it more Neanderthal-like, that might treat osteoporosis and muscle wasting."

For now, the technology for studying Neanderthal biology remains out of reach. But many experts predict that it's only a matter of time. "My own over-under number is 30 years," Hawks says.

Editor's note: National Geographic will host scientists and conservationists at the TEDxDeExtinction conference on March 15 at its Washington headquarters, spearheaded by Stewart Brand and Ryan Phelan of the group Revive and Restore. The event will be streamed live on NationalGeographic.com. National Geographic will be reporting on the conference and related debate in coming weeks, including in a cover story in our April issue.

57 comments
Rick Nuthman
Rick Nuthman

I don't have an ethical problem with cloning neanderthals. I think that they would be smarter than modern humans, faster, and better 'pattern matchers'..  Plus, I don't really think that they would look much different from the rest of us; especially if raised by a homo sapien family. I am 3.1% neanderthal according to my 23andme test.. would love to meet my ancestors :)

Corey Wiley
Corey Wiley

I would be against cloning a Neanderthal person, maybe if we could clone 1000 so they would not feel alienated, but still, I think it would be too problematic to be ethical. I do think, at least as of right now unless someone were to convince me otherwise, that it would be ok to clone people/homo sapiens who lived 200 thousand, 150 thousand or 100 thousand, or 50 thousand or 10 thousand years ago. That would be different I think because they would fit in and not feel alienated and have to carry the burden of a label of being "another species" as a neanderthal would, which might take quite a heavy psychological toll. Maybe I'm wrong on thinking it would be okay to clone ancient homo sapiens though, and maybe I'll change my mind, but it seems that would be okay. Although they would be scrutinized and might feel like they were a science project to be observed in a petri dish. 

Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis

Simply holding a Neanderthal Convention might well catalyze such recognition among the attendees, that it could change thinking about recovering the human group.  In any case it could be both fun and worth doing.  Let's see, suppose it is planned for, say, Saint Louis, Missouri in 2032...

Raul Cantu
Raul Cantu

Rise of the Planet of the Neanderthals

Terry T.
Terry T.

It seems that the entire purpose of bio-ethicists is to stop human progress.  Come on, what gives you the right to judge whether some particular branch of genetic research is allowable under your arbitrary code of ethics?

Of course we should try to clone neanderthals, also more recently extinct species such as dodo birds, woolly mammoths, and carrier pigeons.  These creatures were probably wiped out by humans to begin with, so it's only right that we restore them to the biosphere.

It wouldn't be easy to clone a long-extinct species, but the technology and techniques that would be developed as a result would have enormous value.  It would move us a step closer to curing genetic diseases such as MS, ALS, Down's, etc.  It would help us understand how to attack viruses and bacteria on the genetic level, to alter pests like deer ticks and encephalitis-bearing mosquitoes so that they are not attracted to humans.  It would teach us perhaps how to regrow body parts.  It might help us to extend human life spans by decades or even hundreds of years.

Bio-ethics -- just say no to these know-nothings!

Eric the Red
Eric the Red

I have never understood the mindset that asks the question, "Should we bring back to life an extinct species?". This question and the people who ask it seem, at least  to me, to be out for nothing more than to stir up useless debate. If we were talking about bringing back Pterodactyls then this is a debate we should take seriously. However, Dodo birds and Wooly Mammoths are not killer birds roaming the skies in search of prey.


Would bringing back or cloning a mammoth be secsessful? The only way to answer that question is to do it. Give life a chance, give a worth species the chance to breath life again and to gaze across the land. Let us use our new found scientific gifts and skills to give life and in turn learn more about our selves, about our humanity.


Some people seem to be distressed that some cloned animals have died shortly after birth or lived only a few years. I personally would like to live as long as I can, be that one day, one year or one hundred years. In my humble opinion, I think we should spare no effort learning and perfecting the technique of creating life. One day we may find that our life skills are what save the human race.


Willful ignorance is not something we should strive for nor should we cower behind walls in fear that we may make a mistake. We need scientists that have courage to take bold steps in a direction to change this world and shape it in a way that challenges us as a species. We must not take steps backwards and let ignorance and fear rule our world.

Eric the Red
Eric the Red

I have never understood the mindset that asks the question, "Should we bring back to life an extinct species?". This question and the people who ask it seem, at least  to me, to be out for nothing more than to stir up useless debate. If we were talking about bringing back Pterodactyls then this is a debate we should take seriously. However, Dodo birds and Wooly Mammoths are not killer birds roaming the skies in search of prey.


Would bringing back or cloning a mammoth be secsessful? The only way to answer that question is to do it. Give life a chance, give a worth species the chance to breath life again and to gaze across the land. Let us use our new found scientific gifts and skills to give life and in turn learn more about our selves, about our humanity.


Some people seem to be distressed that some cloned animals have died shortly after birth or lived only a few years. I personally would like to live as long as I can, be that one day, one year or one hundred years. In my humble opinion, I think we should spare no effort learning and perfecting the technique of creating life. One day we may find that our life skills are what save the human race.


Willful ignorance is not something we should strive for nor should we cower behind walls in fear that we may make a mistake. We need scientists that have courage to take bold steps in a direction to change this world and shape it in a way that challenges us as a species. We must not take steps backwards and let ignorance and fear rule our world.

Eric the Red
Eric the Red

I have never understood the mindset that asks the question, "Should we bring back to life an extinct species?". This question and the people who ask it seem, at least  to me, to be out for nothing more than to stir up useless debate. If we were talking about bringing back Pterodactyls then this is a debate we should take seriously. However, Dodo birds and Wooly Mammoths are not killer birds roaming the skies in search of prey.


Would bringing back or cloning a mammoth be secsessful? The only way to answer that question is to do it. Give life a chance, give a worth species the chance to breath life again and to gaze across the land. Let us use our new found scientific gifts and skills to give life and in turn learn more about our selves, about our humanity.


Some people seem to be distressed that some cloned animals have died shortly after birth or lived only a few years. I personally would like to live as long as I can, be that one day, one year or one hundred years. In my humble opinion, I think we should spare no effort learning and perfecting the technique of creating life. One day we may find that our life skills are what save the human race.


Willful ignorance is not something we should strive for nor should we cower behind walls in fear that we may make a mistake. We need scientists that have courage to take bold steps in a direction to change this world and shape it in a way that challenges us as a species. We must not take steps backwards and let ignorance and fear rule our world.

Vedika Rajavat
Vedika Rajavat

Neanderthals were extinct for a reason they are still used to the killing each other over every little thing , I agree with V. Dennis

V. Dennis
V. Dennis

This is a stupid idea, do it and we could be next on the extinct species list. Someone's harebrained idea of real life Jurassic Park??

Can't you think of better things to do with all that money and recourses?? I sure could. Cure some of the diseases that are abundant now. Fix some of the current problems of this world.

Ke gs
Ke gs

Here's a cuckoo thought, maybe we were genetically engineered from the Neanderthals genome and that's why we have traces of their DNA?

Blake Robinson
Blake Robinson

coming into this world...again...and seeing it like this, they are probably glad that they are extinct and dont have to witness it

Jose V.
Jose V.

 I agree they should not spend this resources allocated to reviving this creatures, it should be spent on the living, the near extinct creatures, we don't know what this creatures will do in a city environment, they probably will become a pest that will need to be made extinct for that reason, in my opinion, lets not and say that we can, this guys are saying lets revive all of this animals but what they mean to say is lets revive the Neanderthals because of the picture in their article, how nice of them, all they are going to prove is that they make a nice zoo exhibit and no more, you won't be able to train them to work a production line and pay them in bananas, well, actually they would pay them in bananas if they can. LeonardoV59

Mellie Harrison
Mellie Harrison

The Human Race tends to slow the future of science, and the future of the human race out of fear and other emotional responses. Some of the Human Race, possibly the majority want to base decisions for the future of science on religious ideas formed thousands of years ago, would this not be the same as bringing something something back to life or keeping something that no longer belonged here alive. In doing this we slow down possibilities for the future of the human race. There has been many times in history that the human race has done this to themselves for the sake of religion and emotional turmoil. Even tho it tends to keep us honest about some things, and brings a different perspective. Do we not owe it to the Human Race to start succeeding, advancing, and evolving, to bring a light to our futures instead of new ways to run from it? True. The Human Race jumped into many things in the past that were created that they still don't have any way of cleaning up, maybe this should be the new outlook for science. If we mess it up how do we clean it up, not cover it up. Think of the outcome first then the income. If we begin to look at the positive gains from these advances, it may enlighten those that are simply afraid, nothing can change a closed mind. Tell the people of the possible medical advances that cloning could achieve. Don't just win the hearts of the people win the minds of the people. 

Jane Bennett
Jane Bennett

Judging by the fist picture in this article I would say that the cloning has already taken place. They all live in Skelmersdale.

John C.
John C.

So we can someday look forward to clones of Mao, Kim Il-sung or some future monster. Let the dead rest in peace. 

sid torgenson
sid torgenson

there was a movie years ago about this, does anyone remember it? what i remember from the movie was that the lady and guy were runing from authories and they saw a deer that was shot and the kid, who was Neanderthal brought it back to life. does anyone remember the name of the movie????

Lauren Levey
Lauren Levey

It's incontrovertable that European Neanderthals and homo sapiens more recently from Africa interbred and produced viable offspring, who could in turn reproduce with either group. How is this not a definition of same species? My guess is that a cloned Neanderthal would be only as different from me as a person of a different race. And by the way, a Neanderthal diet rich in produce would no doubt be more beneficial to us all than GMO processed grains and sandwich meat.

Shubham Chakraborty
Shubham Chakraborty

This article says that Neanderthals and Humans interbred at some some point of history. That means some of us have the characteristics of Neanderthals. Then what's the point of resurrecting them. 

I think they wouldn't survive high temperature and humidity in the tropics that most of the humans are used to. They are extinct for a purpose. Evolution has done its job.

Joseph Kristian Marikit
Joseph Kristian Marikit

First extinct animals and now, the Neanderthals? I think it would be better to leave it be. The Neanderthals became extinct for a reason and now, people want them back. Why not focus to things that are really in need of our time and effort. There are issues of climate change, more animals are endangered for eradication and natural resources being depleted. We can still stop these. I mean, it's not only for our future but for the future of everyone else including the animals, plants and nature as part of a creation.

Dwayne Godwin
Dwayne Godwin

I'll state what I take to be a safe fact: Neanderthals are no longer among us for a reason. We do not know what that reason might be. It could be as simple as not having the genetic capacity to withstand diseases that we brush off, and it could be this very thing that promoted our genes. We might resurrect one only to see it perish from a common bug.

We know that our behavior and temperament derives in large measure from our genes. What if, through no fault of its own, the cloned Neanderthal were violent and impulsive, in a way that is outside the range of modern sensibilities? What would be done?

So, fun thought experiment, and definitely worth engineering Neanderthal cells for the reasons stated. But cloning one is, I think, not easily defended.

Evolution - it works.

Dwayne Godwin
Dwayne Godwin

I'll state what I take to be a safe fact: Neanderthals are no longer among us for a reason. We do not know what that reason might be. It could be as simple as not having the genetic capacity to withstand diseases that we brush off, and it could be this very thing that promoted our genes. We might resurrect one only to see it perish from a common bug.

We know that our behavior and temperament derives in large measure from our genes. What if, through no fault of its own, the cloned Neanderthal were violent and impulsive, in a way that is outside the range of modern sensibilities? What would be done?

So, fun thought experiment, and definitely worth engineering Neanderthal cells for the reasons stated. But cloning one is, I think, not easily defended.

Evolution - it works.

Valerie Tescher
Valerie Tescher

I think using a chimpanzee as a carrier of such a clone would be highly unethical based on anthropological evidence that neanderthals and homo sapiens once interbred and produced viable offspring.  Aside from being some miraculous carbon based experiment rooted in nostalgia this is also a social experiment and socialization with humans would be absolutely necessary for a tool bearing, ornamented, technologically versed hominid represented to our modern day DNA, especially since these are based off limited sampling size and the relation could also be much higher..  That is of course if cloning extinct species becomes ethical along the way.

Thomas Kelly
Thomas Kelly

If it lived in the society that we do today, then it would be an average human.

Ron Bockman
Ron Bockman

no need to clone, there are lots of Neanderthals living in South Philadelphia

Charmaine Rin
Charmaine Rin

Its not worth it... if you bring back the Neanderthals then dress/teach them how to live like a modern human.. Let them live like it was before.

Phil Smith
Phil Smith

It would be more significant to actually advance the species. If not creating a superior human artificially, perhaps look to revive more intelligent homonids, like Boskops.

Arthur Shasta
Arthur Shasta

if you style her hair and put some modern fashion on her, the woman pictured above sat in front of me on the bus Monday !

science ? this is a bastion of fantasy.

Arthur Shasta
Arthur Shasta

there would be zero difficulty in matching the two because the are the same. a "Neanderthal" is as fully human as a "modern" person. 

NatGeo, keep peddlin' the snake oil...


Paul Levinson
Paul Levinson

Excellent article.  For fictional speculation on Neanderthal - modern human relations, see The Silk Code

Xira Arien
Xira Arien

Who's going to give them a job? What with robots doing everything?

Zulu Lala
Zulu Lala

@Corey Wiley "Although they would be scrutinized and might feel like they were a science project to be observed in a petri dish. "

That's the real problem here. No matter who they are, they'll have to be a big enough population to either: not be studied individually, or at least, without them realizing they are.


That and the first generation of mothers/parents. No one will want to birth some "alien creature", nor nurse it. Just being able to educate the kid might be a problem if the kid's twice the strength of the parent. For it to work, you'd have to slowly genetically regress generation by generation, to make a smooth transition. I don't want to think of the time it could require!

Daniel Slick
Daniel Slick

@Vedika Rajavat 

That's certainly a very nuanced viewpoint. Did it ever occur to you that humans have quite a history of being extremely good killing things, and the reason we survived and neanderthals did not may have something to do with that?

Terry T.
Terry T.

@V. Dennis That's what R&D is.  There is no better thing to do with all that "money and recourses[sic]". If you want to see more diseases cured, and fix problems in the world, then support research.

Robert Comeaux
Robert Comeaux

@Lauren LeveyOne of the problems for the the Neanderthals was that there diet was very heavy on meat according to mitochondrial DNA tests. Saw a special on NOVA. My ten year old daughter loves to watch those shows; thus, I must love them as well.

Liz Marriott
Liz Marriott

@Lauren Levey I'm not sure you could simply describe them as belonging to another ethnic group - although there is evidence of successful interbreeding, they think that only a minority of the offspring were viable, as evidenced by the fact that no traces remain in mitochondrial DNA.
The differences between modern humans and neanderthals seem pretty distinct, even if so too would the similarities. For instance, their bone structure - not just of the skull, and face, but entire skeleton, was noticeably different - they were much more thickly set, and had a flared ribcage and little to no waist [this helped to conserve heat]. Their is evidence of much denser musculature, and also reduced agility. In order to support the former, their diets would have had to be extremely high in protein and calories, in comparison to ours.
Whilst I do think that they would be intelligent, sentient people, I would guess that they would constitute a sub-species, as opposed to the same species. Whilst some racial differences between modern humans can seem quite pronounced, short of atypical sufferers of disability, most ethnic groups seem to share common proportions and skeletal structure, even though there are differences in height [and this can be attributed to poor nutrition frequently]. Modern humans may have diversity in facial features, but not nearly to the extent that a neanderthal would exhibit. Also, there is the brain size - neanderthals are thought to have had brains approximately 20% larger than modern humans - I can't think of any racial grouping that would exhibit such a discrepancy. Although some few, extremely isolated communities of humans might exhibit anomalous proportions [eg pygmies] for the most part, humans are strikingly similar to humans everywhere.
I think it would perhaps be fair to compare the relationship between humans and neanderthals as akin to that between wolves and coyotes - two animals undeniably related, but also easily distinguishable. Hybrids between the two do occur, however, not without some difficulties, such as loss of fertility etc.
I just watched an interesting documentary on neanderthals, on which I'm basing most of this information, it's on youtube if you'd like to check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROtW9SPnhuM

C. Cyr
C. Cyr

@Phil Smith. I agree. How about using genetics to create homo superior since we're likely to destroy ourselves one way or another before we naturally evolve to the next level. Why take a giant step backwards?

Soap Berries
Soap Berries

@Arthur Shasta On that note, look how many variations of humans we have today. With how few remains they have found, who's to say the neanderthal wasn't just a deformed human. 

Michael Polia
Michael Polia

@Paul Levinson

A more recent fictional treatment of this may be found in Jonathan Brookes' new novel, "Relic".


The novel is a fast paced science fiction thriller that explores the possibility of resurrecting and weaponizing an extinct species.  

Imagine a scenario in which some rogue, black-ops faction of the military attempts to clone Neanderthals in order to create a superior soldier. This rogue military group, working with a military contractor, inadvertently unleash a past that should have remained extinct. The novel explores the social and moral issues of such a project, as well as worst case scenarios of a covert military project gone awry. 

Liz Marriott
Liz Marriott

@Clay Cyr @Phil Smith In evolution, there is no such thing as "superiority", only adaptability. For instance, you might view a person that is both stronger and smarter than average to be superior, right? Well, there is evidence to suggest that neanderthals had both these qualities [they were stocky, with a greater percentage of musculature, and their brains are thought to have been around 20% larger than modern humans'].

However, being superbly adapted for a cold weather, forested environment, they understandably had problems when that environment rapidly altered, becoming much warmer, and more open, favouring hunters with less strength, but greater speed. Had Europe remained cold and forested, then it is likely that our own ancestors would not have fared nearly so well. Evolution is merely a matter of a species developing the right characteristics, at the right time.

Qualities we consider to be advantageous, desirable, or favourable therefore, may very well be present in, as you put it, "a giant step backwards". Look at the dinosaurs: many species were large and strong, and several are thought to have been quite intelligent, yet today, the only forms that remain are avian: birds. What bird could rival the strength and fearsomeness of a Tyrannosaurus, or the fox-like intelligence of some of the smaller theropods? But it is birds which have survived, not because they were the "best" by our human interpretation, but because they were the "best adapted" for the environment with which they were presented.

Indeed, arguably a species' longevity is more probable if it is mediocre: a jack of all trades. In high-competition environments such as rainforests, organisms manage to survive by developing ever-increasing forms of specialisation, carving out an ecological niche for themselves and occupying it in an exemplary  fashion. Yet, becoming too adept at fulfilling a particular role makes that organism's position all that much more precarious [kind of like a graphic designer in an economic slump, when hard times arrive, the species with the longest job-description is the first to go].

Anyway, therefore, the concept of eugenics is fallacious, since what is valuable to us as a society is an entirely distinct proposition to what is valuable to us as a species. Whilst the two may converge on some aspects, [given our position at the top of the food chain] they are not the same. It may be entirely possible to derive something socially valuable from neanderthal DNA - whether that thing may be valuable on an evolutionary level is another matter, and another debate, of course. :)

John C.
John C.

@Clay Cyr @Phil Smith 

that was the idea behind eugenics in the 1920's and 1930's. didn't work out as well as planned. 

C. Cyr
C. Cyr

@John C. True, but I'm talking about advancing modern man not fascists from nearly a century ago.

De-Extinction in the News



On Friday, March 15, at our Washington, D.C., headquarters, National Geographic hosted TEDxDeExtinction, a daylong conference on species-revival science and ethics convened by Revive & Restore. The talks are over, but the coverage and conversation continue, in our new cover story on de-extinction, at National Geographic News, on TV—and on Twitter:




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