Zach Zorich explores the question:
The ultimate goal of studying human evolution is to better understand the human race. The opportunity to meet a Neanderthal and see firsthand our common but separate humanity seems, on the surface, too good to pass up. But what if the thing we learned from cloning a Neanderthal is that our curiosity is greater than our compassion? Would there be enough scientific benefit to make it worth the risks? "I'd rather not be on record saying there would," Holliday [a paleoanthropologist] told me, laughing at the question.
"I mean, come on, of course I'd like to see a cloned Neanderthal, but my desire to see a cloned Neanderthal and the little bit of information we would get out of it...I don't think it would be worth the obvious problems." Hublin [another paleoanthropologist] takes a harder line. "We are not Frankenstein doctors who use human genes to create creatures just to see how they work." Noonan agrees, "If your experiment succeeds and you generate a Neanderthal who talks, you have violated every ethical rule we have," he says, "and if your experiment fails...well. It's a lose-lose." Other scientists think there may be circumstances that could justify Neanderthal cloning.
"If we could really do it and we know we are doing it right, I'm actually for it," says Lahn [who studies the evolutionary history of the genes that control human brain development at the University of Chicago]. "Not to understate the problem of that person living in an environment where they might not fit in. So, if we could also create their habitat and create a bunch of them, that would be a different story."
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