Elongated Human Skulls Of Peru: Possible Evidence Of A Lost Human Species?
Recent DNA testing, by a German team in 2010 of nearby Nazca skulls, as well as a sampling of Paracas ones, indicate that both the Nazca and Paracas were not genetically related to any other people in what is now known as Peru.
The Paracas people, living by the coast, were clearly fishermen, as evidenced by netting which has been found buried in the sand, as well as ancient middens, which are heaps of sea shells. No actual and extensive carbon 14 dating has been performed on the organic matter of the archaeological sites, and this was certainly not done by Tello, as his work was performed in 1928, whereas carbon 14 dating was not established until the 1940s. Also, very little work has been done at Paracas since the time of Tello, and the subterranean houses have once again filled up with sand.
It seems evident, although unproven at this time, that the Paracas may be the descendants of an earlier culture that were sea farers. Since the Chavin-Paracas link set forth by Tello seems improbable, due to the lack of elongated Chavin skulls, as well as the German DNA testing, it is a worthwhile hypothesis.
I went to the excavation sites, most notably those of the graveyard and adjacent village, which stretches and hugs the shoreline for supposedly 2.5 km, in May of 2011, with the film crew from the US based Ancient Aliens television series. All of the subterranean homes and graves had become filled in with sand, due to the constant wind, blowing in off the ocean.
The site of Cerro Colorado, which was the burial place of the priestly and ruling class of Paracas people, located across the main road which takes visitors through the ecological reserve, is strictly forbidden to visit. This is mainly due to the fact that huaqueros, or grave robbers, have been looting these locations since at least Tello’s time, mainly looking for clay pots, gold and silver figurines, and the finely woven fabrics which the Paracas are famous for having made.
Mr. Juan Navarro, owner and director of the local museum, called the Paracas History Museum, has a fine collection of artefacts from all of the cultures known and believed to have lived in this area, including the Paracas, Nazca, Chincha and Inca. Amongst his displayed collection of stone implements and clay pots is an elongated skull. Upon inquiring as to its age, he stated that he is a firm believer of the time line set forth by Tello, that the skull could possibly be 3000 years old, and not more recent than 2000. That is because the prevailing theory is that the Paracas people died out by about the time of Christ, having been absorbed into the Nazca, who were the next major culture to live there, spreading out from the area that bears their name.
What is intriguing about this, is that we see, from viewing the very large skull collection at the Regional Museum in nearby Ica, that the physical presence of the elongated skulls does dwindle as the time line of the Nazca progresses. This would indicate that either the process of head binding itself died out gradually, and/or that the genetic trait of the elongated cranium faded as fewer and fewer of the Paracas people existed. The Paracas people also seem to have occupied the Nazca area prior to the arrival of the actual Nazca tribal people, and may have been the makers of the famous animal figures on the Nazca plain; the lines themselves having been made later. Amongst the most famous of the figures is one called “The Astronaut,” and it is not only human like in form, but shows signs of having a less than normal shaped head. Whether this was the result of artistic license, or a realistic portrayal is not known.
The only way to establish the actual age, and possible genetic origins of the Paracas people is through DNA analysis of the skulls themselves. Fortunately, Juan Navarro has a somewhat large collection of the elongated skulls in his possession, and just recently put them on display at his museum, due to my urging. Numbering at least 35, and collected as the result of the huaqueros (grave robbers) leaving the skulls abandoned on the surface after looting graves, Juan has allowed the taking of samples from 5 of the skulls. The samples consisted of hair, including roots, a tooth, skull bone and skin, and this process was carefully documented via photos and video.