Alysson Muotri: Neanderthal Brains in a Bottle

So this is not exactly a Neanderthal brain in a bottle, but it gestures in that direction. Here, we are finding a new way of understanding what makes us human and how we became human.

Alysson Muotri just published a study of Neanderthal brains that seems to be taken straight out of science fiction. His team took a mutation from Neanderthals, and edited into human cells. These cells were grown up into “brain organoids” in a dish. Because of that single mutation, the brain organoids looked differently and worked differently too.

Like all discoveries, this one raises as many questions as it answers. This one in particular brings in a new way to the grand question: what does it mean to be human?

See his study here:

And the news coverage here:

Do not miss this interview with @NLENTS, @swamidass, and Muotri. Monday at about 3pm.


In the video, A. Muotry and N. Lents seem to agree that Neanderthals were cognitively inferior to their anatomically modern human contemporaries. But not all paleo-experts agree with this notion:

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