Why we can’t clone a Neanderthal—or any ancient organism

Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but you never know what future technology may hold.

Why Evolution Is True

I’m not a huge fan of sci-fi, but one sci-fi movie I have seen is “Jurassic Park.” You’ll remember that the dinosaurs in that park were cloned from dinosaur blood (which contains DNA because reptiles, unlike mammals, have red blood cells with nuclei), and that blood was from the stomachs of mosquitoes that had bitten dinosaurs and then gotten preserved in amber.  Well, that reconstruction feat is impossible for scientists at our present stage of knowledge and technical abiliity—for the very same reasons it’s impossible to re-create any ancient organism from “fossil DNA.” This is relevant because of recent speculations, fueled by Harvard geneticist George Church and picked up and disseminated widely by the press, that we might be able to clone a human Neanderthal, since we now have a sequence of the Neanderthal genome.  (I’ve written before about George Church’s accommodationism; see here and here.)

First a…

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