Posts Tagged ‘neanderthal’

Meet the ancestors – best ever reconstruction of early humans and Neanderthals

Close encounters of the human kind: new exhibition at London’s Natural History Museum allows visitors to view the most lifelike reconstructions of Neanderthals ever made
Meet the ancestors - best ever reconstruction of early humans and Neanderthals

The most detailed reconstructions of the faces of Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens ever made will feature in a new exhibition at Natural History Museum.

Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story, traces our lineage back into the depths of prehistory and brings together a treasure trove of rare fossils and ancient artifacts.

Highlights include specially commissioned Neanderthal and Homo sapiens models that are the most life-like and scientifically accurate ever made.

Also on display are stone tools from Happisburgh in Norfolk which prove that ancient humans arrived in Britain around 900,000 years ago – 400,000 years earlier than first thought.

Visitors will be able to see skeletons from Gough’s Cave in Somerset wich show clear evidence of cannibalism 14,700 years ago, their skulls were carefully shaped into ritual drinking cups.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - January 14, 2014 at 8:42 am

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20 Things You Didn’t Know About… Neanderthals

The hominids are depicted as degenerate and slouching because the first Neanderthal skeleton found happened to be arthritic..

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1. You’re pretty much a Neanderthal. While it’s been more than 5 million years since we parted ways with chimps, it has been only 400,000 since human and Neanderthal lineages split.

2. If you’re Asian or Caucasian, your ancestors interbred with Neanderthals as recently as 37,000 years ago, when they crossed paths in Europe.

3. And that sex had benefits. Inherited Neanderthal genes come in alleles that help fight off nasty viruses such as Epstein-Barr — associated with several kinds of cancer, says Stanford University immunologist Laurent Abi-Rached.

4. If you want to know how much Neanderthal DNA you carry, just swab your cheek and send it to the National Geographic Society’s Genographic Project. Or you could have your entire genome sequenced as Ozzy Osbourne did in 2010. Researchers found a telltale Neanderthal segment on his chromosome 10.

5. Now that the whole Neanderthal genome has been sequenced, Harvard geneticist George Church thinks a clone could be gestated in a human surrogate mother. It could even be beneficial, he believes, because the Neanderthal mind might be able to solve problems we can’t.

6. Practically nobody believed you could read a Neanderthal’s genes until 2010, when the paleogeneticist Svante Pääbo successfully sequenced DNA from three Neanderthal skeletons found in Croatia.

7. The first evidence of Neanderthals was discovered in 1856. Miners in Germany’s Neander Valley found fossils thought to belong to a cave bear. A local natural historian begged to differ. He reckoned the strange bones were the remains of a lost Cossack suffering from rickets.

8. Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species three years later. In the context of Darwin’s theories of evolution, the bones were re-examined by anatomist William King, who promptly named them Homo neanderthalensis, a name that provocatively (and incorrectly) suggested they were the missing link between apes and humans.

9. As late as the mid-1970s, creationists were still claiming Neanderthal fossils were the remains of modern humans with acromegaly or arthritis.

10. Paleontologist Marcellin Boule would have been well advised to study pathology. Between 1909 and 1911, he reconstructed the first skeleton of a Neanderthal — who happened to be arthritic. Thus was born the degenerate, slouching image of Neanderthals.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - December 14, 2013 at 10:52 pm

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Wanted: ‘Adventurous woman’ to give birth to Neanderthal man – Harvard professor seeks mother for cloned cave baby

Any Volunteers? No?
A scientist claims to have enough DNA to start cloning a neanderthal baby and is now looking for “an adventurous woman” to give birth to a neanderthal baby.

 

  • Professor George Church of Harvard Medical School believes he can reconstruct Neanderthal DNA
  • His ambitious plan requires a human volunteer willing to allow the DNA to be put into stem cells, then a human embryo

They’re usually thought of as a brutish, primitive species.

So what woman would want to give birth to a Neanderthal baby?

Yet this incredible scenario is the plan of one of the world’s leading geneticists, who is seeking a volunteer to help bring man’s long-extinct close relative back to life.

Professor George Church of Harvard Medical School believes he can reconstruct Neanderthal DNA and resurrect the species which became extinct 33,000 years ago.

His scheme is reminiscent of Jurassic Park but, while in the film dinosaurs were created in a laboratory, Professor Church’s ambitious plan requires a human volunteer.

He said his analysis of Neanderthal genetic code using samples from bones is complete enough to reconstruct their DNA.

He said: ‘Now I need an adventurous female human.

‘It depends on a hell of a lot of things, but I think it can be done.’

Professor Church’s plan would begin by artificially creating Neanderthal DNA based on genetic code found in fossil remains. He would put this DNA into stem cells.

These would be injected into cells from a human embryo in the early stages of life.

It is thought that the stem cells would steer the development of the hybrid embryo on Neanderthal lines, rather than human ones.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 30, 2013 at 11:20 pm

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14 extinct animals that could be resurrected

T. Rex model
Can lost species ever become un-extinct? In the 1993 film “Jurassic Park,” dinosaurs are cloned back to life after their DNA is discovered still intact within the bellies of ancient mosquitoes preserved in amber. While the science of cloning is still in its infancy, many scientists now believe it’s only a matter of time before extinct animals again walk the Earth.
To successfully clone an extinct animal, scientists need to find animal DNA that is almost entirely intact, so some species will make better candidates for resurrection than others. For instance, recently extinct animals that have been preserved in museums make good candidates, as do ancient animals that were preserved in permafrost during the last ice age.
Because of the sheer amount of time that has passed, dinosaurs make unlikely candidates. A real-life Jurassic Park is probably best reserved for the imagination, but a real-life Pleistocene Park? Well, that’s another story. Here’s our list of 14 extinct animals that could be resurrected, thanks to cloning.
Woolly mammoth
Early in 2011, Japanese scientists announced that they planned to clone a woolly mammoth within five years. The clock is ticking, but with a little luck these ice age behemoths may soon become the first inhabitants of the world’s first zoo for extinct animals.
Mammoths make particularly good candidates for resurrection because they went extinct so recently and because many intact specimens have been found frozen in the Arctic tundra. Furthermore, because mammoths are so closely related to a living species — elephants — scientists may be able to simplify the process by having a living elephant give birth to a mammoth.
Neanderthal
The Neanderthal
is perhaps the most controversial extinct species eligible for cloning and resurrection, primarily due to logistics: The surrogate species would be us. As the most recently extinct member of the Homo genus, Neanderthals are widely considered a subspecies of modern humans. Cloning them might be controversial, but it could also be illuminating.
A Neanderthal clone would also probably be most viable. Scientists have already completed a rough draft of the Neanderthal genome, for instance.
The question is not so much “could we do this?” but “should we?”

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - March 27, 2013 at 9:27 pm

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Promises of Neanderthal babies damage public trust in science …

Promises of Neanderthal babies damage public trust in science

http://www.wired.co.uk1/29/13

When a German newspaper questioned geneticist George Churchinto a corner over his theoretical Neanderthal cloning argument, global headlines heralded the imminent birth of a Homoneanderthalensis. Sensationalist reporting like this might be common, but could it affect our willingness to accept scientific experimentation in the future? If an ill-informed public is continually fed fact-light exaggerations and melodrama, leaving the debate to rest on issues of morality, will we lose faith in the figure of the scientist and resist advancement when the time finally comes to clone a Neanderthal?

Update: In an interview with the Boston Herald, George Church says the idea that he was actively seeking someone for the project was a misinterpretation based on his translated Der Spiegel interview. From the Herald: “I’m certainly not advocating it,” Church said. “I’m saying, if it is technically possible someday, we need to start talking about it today.”

Maybe Neanderthals just get a bad rap. One well-credentialed Harvard scientist, at least, thinks they're more intelligent than they're portrayed, and he's willing test that theory out. He just needs an “adventurous” woman on board as a surrogate for a modern-day Neanderthal.

George Church of Harvard Medical School is a geneticist noted for his work on the Human Genome Project. If Neanderthals were re-introduced to the planet, he says, their way of thinking could be beneficial to Neanderthals and Homo sapiens alike. His plan to create a baby Neanderthal–”neo-Neanderthal,” if you will–goes like this. 1) Make artificial Neanderthal DNA from bone samples. 2) Introduce that DNA into stem cells. 3) Put those stem cells into a human embryo, and the DNA will steer it toward becoming a Neanderthal. 4) Put that embryo in a woman and wait for her to give birth.

SOURCEMother Needed to Birth Neanderthal Baby

Harvard Medical School Professor George Church is looking for a woman willing to give birth to a Neanderthal man. –On the Bonus Show: River on Mars, Japan…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - March 14, 2013 at 12:34 am

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Would resurrected Neanderthals have human rights?

Neanderthal DNA in All Non-Africans

Neanderthal DNA has been proven transferred to all Non-Indigenous Africans, from Neanderthal male to Homo Sapien female, most likely in Arabia/Middle East ea…

Could we do it?

But what if we are able, in the not too distant future,  to resurrect the entire organism from the available Neanderthal DNA material, however degraded?  Decoding the Neanderthal genome meant piecing together many DNA fragments painstakingly extracted from 40,000-year-old bones. Today’s cloning techniques would not be up to the task of using this decayed material for so-called  nuclear transfer, the cloning procedure used for Dolly the sheep and many other species successfully cloned since 1999, since this procedure needs intact nuclear cells to work.  However, nuclear transfer is not the only option, as Harvard geneticist George Church proposes in his 2012 book Regenesisdiscussed in the latest edition of National Geographic. Church is working on different approaches for cloning which may work for extinct animals whose cellular material is too degraded for the “Dolly procedure”. It starts with a healthy cell of a closely related species – in this case, modern humans – whose DNA is adjusted so that it matches the code of the ancient genome:

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - March 13, 2013 at 2:42 am

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Scientists seek woman to give birth to Neanderthal child

 

Scientists seek woman to give birth to Neanderthal child
22.01.2013
 
A Harvard scientist has started searching for the woman, who would agree to give birth to a Neanderthal child. The woman will be used to test the abilities of modern science to clone a caveman.
American geneticist George Church shared his thoughts of the unusual project with Germany’s Der Spiegel. He said that he was almost ready to clone a Neanderthal, but he needed a woman for the project, who could bear and deliver the unusual baby.
The woman will receive an embryo with the Neanderthal DNA, placed in stem cells. George Church warned that child labor would be significantly different from what women usually experience. The birth canals of Neanderthal mothers were significantly wider than those of modern women, so their babies did not have to turn to get in the canals. In addition, the head of the Neanderthal baby is expected to be larger than that of normal children.
The professor is one of the authors of the project to decipher the human genome. He is sure that as long as modern science can clone a mammal, then one should try and clone a human or his next of kin.
Sexologist Yuri Levchenko commented the Harvard ​​Professor’s idea to Pravda.Ru:
“Let’s experiment. If it works out – ok, if it doesn’t – let it be disgusting. This is disgusting. There are psychological issues here. During the Neanderthals era, our left hemisphere was very weak, and our right hemisphere is older in the evolutionary process. As you can imagine, an unknown creature can be born,” said the expert.
“We may see the creature – I do not even want to call it a human being – that will have a poorly developed left part of the brain. It will understand that it was born in this society, to this mother.
If medics find abnormalities in the fetus of a woman, they recommend her to terminate the pregnancy. What is the point to give birth to an unknown creature deliberately? For what? This is an experiment beyond good and evil. We are going to create a monster deliberately. The left hemisphere is responsible for the speech center, consciousness,” said Levchenko.
“And what do we achieve with this? This is not a scientific experiment at all. You can not experiment with the things that you can not experiment with,” said the doctor.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - March 12, 2013 at 4:41 pm

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Raising the Neanderthals: scientism and playing God

 

February 26, 2013 (Breakpoint.org) – In 1856, workers at a German quarry found some bones in a cave. They took the bones to a local teacher, Johan Karl Fuhlrott.

To Fuhlrott, while the bones appeared human, they were unlike those of any living European. Eventually, scientists concluded that the bones belong to an extinct species of hominid which they named after the place where the bones were found: the Neander River Valley, or Neanderthal in German.

Paleontologists estimate that Homo neanderthalensis were extinct no later than 25,000 years ago. Yet if one scientist has his way, Neanderthals could make a comeback.

George Church is a molecular geneticist who teaches at both Harvard and MIT. He recently made headlines when he told the German magazine Der Spiegel that it’s possible that he could see the birth of a Neanderthal baby within his lifetime.

After all, we’ve already sequenced an entire Neanderthal genome. Advances in the field of synthetic biology have made it possible to “read gene sequences into computers . . . alter them and then print a modified gene into living cells.”

All that’s missing is an “extremely adventurous female human” and perfecting human cloning, which Church views as “very likely,” technologically-speaking.

This begs the question of why we would want to bring back the Neanderthals in the first place. After all, to paraphrase Jeff Goldblum’s character in “Jurassic Park,” Neanderthals had their shot, and they blew it.

Church’s argument for reversing their extinction is that “Neanderthals might think differently than we do.” This difference, coupled with their larger cranial size, might make them handy to have around “when the time comes to deal with an epidemic or getting off the planet or whatever.”

 

If that sounds less than persuasive, it’s because those aren’t reasons, but rationalizations. Resurrecting the Neanderthal is a small part of a larger project that includes changing the human genome, and in the process, changing what we mean by the word “species.”

Reading the interview in Der Spiegel, what came to mind was a cross between Jurassic Park and the Island of Doctor Moreau. And like the protagonists of Crichton’s and Wells’ novels, Church seems fairly certain about the rightness of what he is proposing, and his and other scientists’ ability to pull it off.

Thus the German interviewer was on the mark when he told Church, “First you propose to change the 3-billion-year-old genetic code. Then you explain how you want to create a new and better man. Is it any wonder to you when people accuse you of playing God?”

Speaking of God, when asked about his religious beliefs, the ironically-named Church replied “I have faith that science is a good thing.”

Of course, science can be a good thing — the issue is whether science alone can decide what ought and ought not to be done. Not even the best-intentioned scientists know what constitutes “a new and better man.”

What’s on display here, folks, is scientism, which posits that science alone can “yield true knowledge about man and society.” If Neanderthals make a comeback — Church understates the difficulty of such an endeavor — it will happen because we can, not because we should.

It will be the result of “extremely adventurous” scientists deciding that they know what’s best. After all, science is a good thing and they are scientists, right?

Reprinted with permission from Breakpoint.org.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - March 5, 2013 at 4:55 pm

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Neanderthal Baby Momma Ad Denied

Yesterday, DNews ran the article, Surrogate Mother Wanted for Neanderthal Baby. In it, we told you that Harvard professor of genetics, George Church, proposed finding an “extremely adventurous female human” to serve as a surrogate mother for a cloned Neanderthal baby. Since that article ran, Church has come out saying that’s not what he meant, exactly. He blames the misinterpretation on the poor translation of an interview with him that appeared in the German magazine, Der Spiegel.

“I’m certainly not advocating it,” Church told the Boston Herald. “I’m saying, if it is technically possible someday, we need to start talking about it today.”

ANALYSIS: It’s Alive! Artificial Life Springs from Manmade DNA

A paragraph from his book, Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves,” clarifies his idea. Church explains that genetic engineering gives researchers a way to start with an intact genome of an animal and change it to the genome of another animal. You could start with an elephant’s genome, for example, and change it into that of a mammoth’s.

“The same technique would work for the Neanderthal,” he writes, “except that you’d start with a stem cell genome from a human adult and gradually reverseengineer it into the Neanderthal genome or a reasonably close equivalent. These stem cells can produce tissues and organs. If society becomes comfortable with cloning and sees value in true human diversity, then the whole Neanderthal creature itself could be cloned by a surrogate mother chimp or an extremely adventurous female human.”

And then today on a radio interview with WBUR’s Tom Ashbrook, Church explained it more. Ashbrook also interviewed Arthur Caplan, head of the division of bioethics at New York University and Jay Keasling, director of the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center.

Tom asks, What would the potential benefit be?

“It’s very hard to anticipate what the benefits are of the Apollo Moon shot are, for example. We didn’t precisely describe GPS navigation in the streets,” Church says.

“We may be limited, chauvinistic in the way we think about things,” he says.

“Sometimes we want to have alien intelligences to discuss things with and sometimes we don’t. It’s an open question. It depends on safety to the individuals.”

Tom asks, But didn’t Neanderthals go extinct for a reason?

Church makes the point that yes, they did extinct for a variety of reasons, but that doesn’t mean they were week or unintelligent and it also doesn’t mean we can’t learn from them.

You can listen to the full interview: Is Creating New Life — Maybe Even A Neanderthal — Possible?

Credit: Lonely Planet

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - February 3, 2013 at 8:45 pm

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It’s Alive! Artificial Life Springs From Manmade DNA

ANALYSIS: It’s Alive! Artificial Life Springs from Manmade DNA

A paragraph from his book, Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves,” clarifies his idea. Church explains that genetic engineering gives researchers a way to start with an intact genome of an animal and change it to the genome of another animal. You could start with an elephant’s genome, for example, and change it into that of a mammoth’s.

“The same technique would work for the Neanderthal,” he writes, “except that you’d start with a stem cell genome from a human adult and gradually reverseengineer it into the Neanderthal genome or a reasonably close equivalent. These stem cells can produce tissues and organs. If society becomes comfortable with cloning and sees value in true human diversity, then the whole Neanderthal creature itself could be cloned by a surrogate mother chimp or an extremely adventurous female human.”

And then today on a radio interview with WBUR’s Tom Ashbrook, Church explained it more. Ashbrook also interviewed Arthur Caplan, head of the division of bioethics at New York University and Jay Keasling, director of the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center.

Tom asks, What would the potential benefit be?

“It’s very hard to anticipate what the benefits are of the Apollo Moon shot are, for example. We didn’t precisely describe GPS navigation in the streets,” Church says.

“We may be limited, chauvinistic in the way we think about things,” he says.

“Sometimes we want to have alien intelligences to discuss things with and sometimes we don’t. It’s an open question. It depends on safety to the individuals.”

Tom asks, But didn’t Neanderthals go extinct for a reason?

Church makes the point that yes, they did extinct for a variety of reasons, but that doesn’t mean they were week or unintelligent and it also doesn’t mean we can’t learn from them.

You can listen to the full interview: Is Creating New Life — Maybe Even A Neanderthal — Possible?

Credit: Lonely Planet

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - January 26, 2013 at 5:24 pm

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