Tags: anthropology | scientists | neanderthal | brains | reseachers

Scientists Growing Neanderthal Brains in Petri Dishes

Image: Scientists Growing Neanderthal Brains in Petri Dishes
A skull model of the La Chapelle Neanderthal man (Carol Francavilla/AP)

Thursday, 28 June 2018 06:45 PM

Scientists are reportedly growing pea-sized Neanderthal brains in petri dishes that they will put inside crab-like robots — and compare them to human-brained robots in a science fiction-like battle of the cyborgs.

The University of California, San Diego, researchers hope the showdown will help explain why homo sapiens won the evolutionary war with Neanderthals 40,000 years ago, Live Science reported.

"By doing this systematically, we will learn what are the genetic alterations that made us uniquely human and why they were positively selected," geneticist Alysson Muotri told Live Science.

According to Science magazine, Muotri's team coaxed stem cells endowed with Neanderthal DNA into tiny masses that mimic the cortex, the outer layer of real brains.

Scientists use the same process to grow mini human organs known as "organoids," and they have dubbed the new creations "Neanderoids."

"We're trying to recreate Neanderthal minds," Muotri told Science magazine.

Several of these differences mirror what Muotri found studying neuronal development in the brains of children with autism, the magazine noted.

"I don't want families to conclude that I'm comparing autistic kids to Neanderthals, but it's an important observation," Muotri told the outlet, which noted Muotri has a stepson with autism.

"In modern humans, these types of changes are linked to defects in brain development that are needed for socialization. If we believe that's one of our advantages over Neanderthals, it's relevant."

The researchers have already devised a way to wire organoids up to crab-bots in the hope they will learn to control the bots and explore their surroundings. The next step is to hook the Neanderoids up in the same way and see how the two brains compare, the reports say.

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In a scientific study, researchers are reportedly growing pea-sized Neanderthal brains in petri dishes that they will put inside crab-like robots, comparing them to human-brained robots in a science fiction-like battle of the cyborgs.
anthropology, scientists, neanderthal, brains, reseachers
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2018-45-28
Thursday, 28 June 2018 06:45 PM
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