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What Is Wrong with Scientists? -- Writer's Poke #399

As I was listening to the new Helloween album (a very good album, by the way), I had a thought fly through my mind. “I bet this is the sort of music that Neanderthals could appreciate.” The thought made me smile. No one will ever know what sort of music Neanderthals might like, but wouldn’t it be neat to imagine them head-banging on the walls of their caves in Northern Europe?

But if one Harvard scientist has his way, perhaps we can discover what sort of music Neanderthals like to rock out to. Professor George Church is looking for “adventurous volunteers.” Sorry guys, he’s looking for female volunteers. His idea is to embed the DNA of a 33,000 year old Neanderthal into a human embryo. 

Then, just put the said embryo inside that adventurous female, wait nine months, and watch the mad-capped fun of science play itself out. Remember Phil Hartman’s “Caveman Lawyer” character from Saturday Night Live? Maybe in 25 years, you can have your own caveman lawyer representing you at your divorce. All thanks to Professor Church, and the magic of science.

So, is this a bad idea? If this an example of what gives science a “bad name,” or is it a fruitful scientific experiment? And just what sort of music do Neanderthals like, anyway?

I bet when Neanderthal kids would make a snowman, someone would always end up saying, “Don’t forget the think, heavy brows.” Then they would get all embarrassed because they remembered they had the big husky brows too, and they’d get made and eat the snowman. – Jack Handy



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