Boston Herald- “Wanted: ‘Adventurous woman’ to give birth to Neanderthal man — Harvard professor seeks mother for cloned cave baby,” Britain’s Daily Mail exulted. And Harvard University geneticist George M. Church, the scientist at the center of the viral vortex, says it was: Way too outlandish, and entirely untrue. Church said his phone was ringing off the hook yesterday with reporters from around the world calling to talk to what they believed, and no doubt hoped, was a modern-day Dr. Moreau — the H.G. Wells character who created weird hybrid animals. He blames a mistake in an article he says was written off an interview in the German magazine Der Spiegel, badly misinterpreting what he said — that such a cloning might theoretically be possible someday — and arriving at the conclusion that he was actively looking for a woman to bear a cave baby with DNA scavenged from ancient Neanderthal bones. He suggested poor translation skills may be part of the problem. Church said he was not even involved in the sequencing of Neanderthal DNA — a project that scientists said has helped determined that many modern humans actually carry traces of their distant hominid ancestors.
Despite the bullshit ethical and potentially life-threatening fallout from recreating things that haven’t been on Earth before history started, I still love me some cloning. And as much as George Church would love for you to believe that he doesn’t really want to clone a Neanderthal, this shitty excuse for an excuse makes me even more confident that he probably already has his own caveman sex slave in a storage locker somewhere in Medford. This is the academic equivalent of dropping a “I can’t believe some girls actually want do anal. Isn’t that so weird?” at dinner with your girlfriend and only playing it off as a joke when she gives you a pissed off look says she doesn’t feel like eating anything for the rest of the night. And he might have gotten away with the testing the waters approach too if he had only spent a little bit more time on his escape plan. Out of all the possible options for people to blame he really decided to go with the Germans? Maybe if this was a fucking Indiana Jones movie and eugenics were still a major part of their political belief system that might have been a good call, but it’s 2013. Even the Die Hard movies have moved onto the Eastern Bloc. Should have just name dropped Al-Jazeera and called it a day.