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If we brought extinct hominids back to life...

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Agalychnis, 16 Jun 2014.

  1. Agalychnis

    Agalychnis Active Member

    16 Jun 2014
    Fredericia, Denmark
    Imagine this situation:

    A genetics laboratory somewhere in the near future finds a way to bring extinct human ancestors back to life. The scientists can create as many specimen as they will, the revived species will be healthy, we know exactly what to feed them etc..

    The question is: When is an animal too human to be kept in a zoo?

    Most people (though not all) will agree that top-quality zoos should be allowed to keep and breed currently living apes (chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans etc.) for conservation purposes. But what if human ancestors were ressurrected?

    What if they can walk bipedally?
    What if they use complex tools?
    What if they can control fire?
    What if they have a human-like language, or human-like intelligence?

    Where do we draw the limit? Do we draw the limit at Australopithecus, which would probably resemble a bipedal chimp intelligence-wise? Or do we draw the limit at Homo erectus, which used tools but not fire and didn't have a fully developed language? Or Neanderthals, which probably had almost human intelligence, yet may have had behavior that differed from modern day humans?

    What do you think?
  2. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

    8 Sep 2007
    South Devon
    A question first posed in 1859, in Punch magazine's commentary on that sensational new book 'On the Origin of Species'. A hominoid or a hominid in a zoo might ask "Am I my keeper's brother?"

  3. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

    28 Jan 2014
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    I've actually thought about this topic. I imagine it's one of those things the scientists wouldn't know the answer to until they actually did it, because we don't know how "human" they are, and wouldn't know unless we got a live specimen. Not to mention, such a thing might play out differently depending on where it was done. Personally I'm wondering how Christian fundamentalist far right people in the US would react to a clone of an Australopithecene or Neanderthal. And some countries are better when it comes to human (and non-human) rights than others.