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If/when we can clone Homo Erectus should we?


The Peon
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With the recent news of cloning a Neanderthal man, I pondered the possibility of one day being able to clone an Erectus. Neanderthal is a much easier subject to debate, given he was probably fully intelligent on our level and closely resembled modern man. Erectus would be a whole other beast though, more intelligent than any ape on Earth, yet clearly not on the same level as humans. Would Erectus be given a normal life? Would he be kept in a Zoo or lab?

 

I for one would love to study a real living Erectus as I am fascinated with Human origins. What are your thoughts?

 

 

 

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Edited by The Peon
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I have read a while ago they were able to extract soft tissue of T-Rex via encased fossils. Or perhaps I am misunderstanding the article? Could it be possible to do the same with hominids? I am also assuming future technology which may open more possibilities. I was more curious in the ethical question itself. If it were possible, would you be for or against such a cloning?

 

 

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/03/0324_050324_trexsofttissue.html

Edited by The Peon
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I'm not sure the soft tissue is relevant to this but lets allow it. I would approve of such a clone being created, I would have to say some strict guide lines would have to be followed but I personally would have no problem with it. A group of them would be more to my liking but even an individual erectus could teach some amazing things i am sure..

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Why would soft tissue not be relevant? I thought you could extract DNA from it?

 

As far as i know the soft tissue does not contain retrievable DNA and may not be the original soft tissue any more than the fossil bone is the original bone.

 

Also would you think Erectus should be given human rights, kept in a zoo, or what?

 

A zoo like environment is probably closest to how it would be kept depending on how well it would socialize to humans.

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As far as i know the soft tissue does not contain retrievable DNA and may not be the original soft tissue any more than the fossil bone is the original bone.

 

A zoo like environment is probably closest to how it would be kept depending on how well it would socialize to humans.

I realize that you are asking an ethical rather than a scientific question, but I would guess that it would have to be kept in a sterile bubble with filtered air, as exposure to modern infectious diseases would be fatal to the creature. Edited by Bill Angel
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I realize that you are asking an ethical rather than a scientific question, but I would guess that it would have to be kept in a stirile bubble bubble with filtered air, as exposure to modern infectious diseases would be fatal to the creature.

 

 

You might have a point but I really don'y see why modern pathogens would be any worse than ancient ones...

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You might have a point but I really don'y see why modern pathogens would be any worse than ancient ones...

Here's an interesting discussion of the issue:

http://anthro.palomar.edu/homo2/mod_homo_4.htm

 

Are we genetically different from our Homo sapiens ancestors who lived 10-20,000 years ago? The answer is almost certainly yes. In fact, it is very likely that the rate of evolution for our species has continuously accelerated since the end of the last ice age, roughly 10,000 years ago. This is mostly due to the fact that our human population has explosively grown and moved into new kinds of environments, including cities, where we have been subject to new natural selection pressures. For instance, our larger and denser populations have made it far easier for contagious diseases, such as tuberculosis, small pox, the plague, and influenza to rapidly spread through communities and wreak havoc. This has exerted strong selection for individuals who were fortunate to have immune systems that allowed them to survive.

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You might have a point but I really don'y see why modern pathogens would be any worse than ancient ones...

I'm far from an expert, but based on my somewhat limited exposure to the subject, infectious disease was significantly less common prior to the domestication of animals, partly as a result of the smaller population sizes of human groups and partly because of a severely diminished degree of contact with animals leading to fewer opportunities for species jumping. It's why Europeans with their generally higher population densities and significantly larger number of domesticated animals brought more diseases to the Americas than crossed back in the other direction.

 

How much of a bearing on the health of Homo erectus in the modern world this would actually have, however, I do not know.

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