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Scientist wants human woman to give birth to a Neanderthal

A scientist believes he's close to perfecting the necessary technology to clone a Neanderthal — all he needs is a human woman to gestate it.

A human skull (left) compared to the skull of a Neanderthal (right).
(Sapiens neanderthal comparison image by DrMikeBaxter, CC BY-SA 2.0)

A scientist believes he's close to perfecting the necessary technology to clone a Neanderthal — all he needs is a human woman to gestate it.

Ladies! Are you feeling adventurous? Harvard University molecular biologist George Church may have a job for you! In an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel (Google Translate), the scientist revealed that he is currently developing technology to clone Neanderthals in his laboratory — and he may be nearly there.

The only thing missing? "An adventurous female person" to act as a surrogate.

It's not really entirely out of the question, either; scientists have been working on cloning for decades, successfully cloning several species of animal, but the process is still rife with problems and has a high failure rate. A human clone has yet to be created.

Perhaps a Neanderthal — on which Church and other researchers have been working for some time — would blunt the ethical concerns with cloning humans, while allowing the scientists to perfect the process, as well as helping them understand a great deal more about human evolution.

Nevertheless, we don't envy these theoretical "adventurous human female" volunteers; Neanderthal babies had much larger heads and heavier bones than we do, and Neanderthal women wider hips. That would not be a comfortable pregnancy, and an even less comfortable birth.

Via science.slashdot.org