Saturday, January 26, 2013


He who thoughtfully and with a searching eye investigates the laws of Nature in all their immense variety is stricken with astonishment when he stumbles upon a wisdom he was not aware of.

Immanuel Kant


Hello Ernie


When I was a lad I loved reading the novels of Jules Verne. He was a Science Fiction writer but as with many such writers he was also a prophet. Many of his stories were about events that literally happened years later. He wrote "20 Thousand Leagues Under The Sea" before there were submarines, "Around The World In 80 days" before there was air travel and "From Earth To the Moon" before there was NASA. One book I remember well, "Trip To The Center Of The Earth" has yet to happen. It seems totally improbable. But when and if geologists discover more about what is under the Earth's surface, who knows what may occur?

Now George Church, a geneticist from the Harvard Medical School, is cautiously discussing the idea of cloning a Neanderthal baby from DNA extracted from fossils. He claims that he's not ready to do it right away, if at all, and the he's not looking for a surrogate mother.

The child would be one that was not born over 40,000 years ago before the Neanderthals were overcame by the early Humans. There are social, ethical. scientific and philosophical questions involved in such an enterprise and many opinions pro and con. There is no question that a successful result would be of enormous benefit to science. So far all the argument I've read against the idea are pitifully silly.

A surrogate mother would have be a very adventurous woman. But considering the "immense variety" of Human Nature such a person may appear. It would need to be someone who was experienced in child bearing and the gestation period would have to be carefully observed. But the possibilities have set my imagination and my memory to spinning.

My imagination because I wonder if the child is healthy and survives, is taught to learn and to communicate, what vestigial wisdom might exist in the collective consciousness of the individual, what lost knowledge may be lodging there and what might we learn about the evolution of ourselves? If the babe survives, is healthy, grows into a ripe age, male or female, and wants to mate, what then? If the Neanderthal girl or boy mares with a Human what will be the result. Sound preposterous? I have read that the Neanderthals mated with the Cro Magnons before they disappeared. They must have mated with the Humans of 40,000 years ago. Who knows, we may be carrying Neanderthal genes around with us right now. The Neanderthal kid might feel right at home with some of us.

It stirs my memory because a few years ao I was working on a novel about the same subject, a Human man mating with a Neanderthal woman and having a child. I never got to finish it because the computer gobbled it up one day. Maybe in the sense it was being prophetic in the Vernesian sense I should try to reconstruct it.

The cloning of a Neanderthal baby will probably happen some day. If we don't do it, China or some other scientifically advance nation will.

If a thing can be done, it will e done.


DB - Vagabond Journeys

Never give up.


1 comment:

Beth said...

Dana, I still have that entire story saved on my computer. It might take me a while to put it together, but I can do that for you. :)