Was the First Human Clone Born in 1978?

In 1978, David Rorvik, medical reporter for the New York Times and Time Magazine, wrote a book called In His Image: The Cloning of Man. In it, he claimed that a real human clone had just been born. Everyone believed him because he was — at least until then — a credible reporter, and his book was published by a well-known publishing house in the medical field. Everyone, that is, except for the rest of the science community.


Rorvik told the fascinating story of how an anonymous billionaire had approached him with the desire to make a clone of himself. With all his connections in the medical world, he was able to gather up a team of scientists who could do this. The team, code named Darwin, flew to a secret island in the Pacific and holed up for five years until it successfully created a human egg with the billionaire's DNA. They then injected the egg into the uterus of a woman with code name Sparrow. Nine months later, a baby was born. Or so the story went.

The March 3, 1978 edition of the New York Post bore a glaring headline declaring the birth of the first human clone. But scientists didn't buy it — they read the book and felt it was full of shit. Rorvik had based his cloning technology on one that was only known to work with frogs — there was no way that this could have been used to clone a human. Then an Oxford geneticist cited in the book sued Rorvik for making false claims and won, and the courts ruled that Rorvik's book was "a fraud and a hoax."

To this day, we don't really know why Rorvik wrote the book. Rorvik continues to claim that his book is telling the truth, and some believe him. And by the way, he's still writing medical books.


What do you think? Is the man a total liar or just slightly ahead of his time? The Cloning of Man [Museum of Hoaxes]

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