(CBS NEWS) — Last year DISCOVER asked the question, “Did We Mate With Neanderthals, or Did We Murder Them?” Now, Zach Zorich at Archaeology magazine is asking another big question about our hominid siblings: Should we bring them back?
Thanks to a slew of recent advances, the possibility is getting closer. 80beats reported a year ago that researchers had published the rough draft of the Neanderthal genome.
That’s the “could we.” But what about the “should we?” More work has been done on this than you might think. In 1997, Stuart Newman, a biology professor at New York Medical School attempted to patent the genome of a chimpanzee-human as a means of preventing anyone from creating such a creature. But he lost his case because the patent office said it would violate the 13th amendment prohibitions against slavery. And since Neanderthals would be even more human, it stands to reason that they’d receive at least some human rights protections.