Well I’ll be a monkeys uncle! Some clever egghead professor of genetics has declared he can now finally create a Neanderthal baby. This is great news for fans of movies such as Jurassic Park where dinosaurs were recreated from ancient DNA. Especially those people who still think cavemen lived at the same time as dinosaurs. According to surveys a lot of people do.
The Neanderthal died much more recently than the Dinosaurs. They lived 40,000 years ago during the ice age. The Dinosaurs disapeared 65 million years ago. This means Neanderthal DNA is much fresher than dinosaur DNA and less ravaged by time. Mammoths will probably be next.
Neanderthals were a sturdy species of hominid that shared ice age europe with our ancestor Cro-magnon man. Neanderthals had bones twice the thickness of ours. They were about ten times stronger than the Cro-magnon and us.
I hope Professor Church has thought all this through. The world once had many different hominid species. Other branches of the human tree which all became dead ends. Then our ancestors diverged into two species for the last time, to date. Only one of them survived. But just because we won last time thats no guarantee of success this time around.
If Neanderthal people were returned from extinction they shouldn’t have any trouble finding work. Imagine a soldier capable of lobbing a grenade over a kilometre. A soldier who can easily carry weapons and ammo usually fitted to vehicles or planes.
What if instead of a grenade it was a baseball. Expect many sports involving strength to be taken over by Neanderthals. Boxing most certainly. Punching a Neanderthal would be pointless. Him punching you would likely result in death. Wrestling, shotput, power lifting, tree chopping. It would be like a chimpanzee facing a gorilla. Chimpanzees are only six times stronger than humans but could still easily rip your arm off. But a gorilla could rip a chimps arm off.
What about labouring work. A guy who can juggle bags of cement might find construction work a breeze. Unless ofcourse he spends all day juggling bags of cement. We have rather strict health and safety legislation nowadays. So it wouldn’t be as exciting as chasing mammoths but he’d never remember ever hunting in the ice age. Cloned Neanderthal’s would grow up like any other baby and probably wouldn’t even stand out in a crowd.
There are laws against cloning human beings in many countries but technically a Neanderthal isn’t human. I’d love to sit in on the court that decides whether to define Neanderthal cloned babies as human. Do we grant them regular human rights if they aren’t judged to be human? Dare we treat a Neanderthal community living among us as second class citizens just because they happen to be a different species much stronger than us?
But what about intelligence? We have those backward cavemen licked there right? Wrong. They actually had larger brain cases than us. Forget about Planet of the Apes. This world may one day become Planet of the Neanderthals. Eek!