Selection of Paracas Elongated Skulls

Elongated Human Skulls Of Peru: Possible Evidence Of A Lost Human Species?

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Four hours drive south of Lima Peru one finds the Paracas Peninsula, part of which is an ecological reserve, where one can see wildlife such as sea lions, and a myriad of various sea bird species. The area is amazingly rich in seafood, and abundant fresh water exists just below the surface of the desert sands, suitable for irrigation free agriculture.

Therefore, it would seem to be a very liveable place for humans.  Stone tools, of various forms and styles of shaping have been found in the area, and cursory analysis has established dates of as old as 8000 years. The greatest of Peruvian archaeologists, Julio Tello, made studies in this area in 1928 and performed excavations on the north side of the peninsula, in the central area of the large semi-circular bay there. He discovered and excavated a massive and elaborate graveyard, where each tomb contained an entire family, each one ornately wrapped in multiple layers of highly stylized, woven and coloured cotton cloth. He also found the sand filled remains of subterranean houses, which turned out to be numerous; so numerous in fact, that the village stretched out for between 1 and 2 km just above the seashore.

But, the most amazing finds were the skulls, some enormously elongated. The scientific name for this is dolichocephally. Most skulls exhibiting this condition, found in many parts of the world, were clearly the result of the practice of head-binding, the process being known as cranial deformation. And so how was this achieved?

A very young child’s skull is pliant at birth, and remains in this way for months. It is therefore possible, by lashing a rope around the head, with a board placed at the back of the skull, and perhaps the front as well, to alter the shape of the head over time. Many authors state that the time period to perform this shaping was about 6 months to 3 years, but since the practice is no longer performed to my knowledge, no one really knows. Examples of this technique, supposedly last performed on infants in the Congo of Africa and the Island of Vanuatu in the south Pacific Ocean area known as Melanesia, well into the 20 th century, have also been found in Egypt, during the Amarna period, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Russia, the island of Malta, as well as many places in Peru and Bolivia, and amongst the Olmecs of Mexico.

What you are capable of doing via this technique is to change the shape of the skull, but not the actual volume; you can alter the shape, but not the size. However, Tello found several skulls, at least 300 at the site called Cerro Colorado adjacent to the main graveyard in Paracas, which had cranial volume larger, and in some cases 25 percent larger (and perhaps more) than a conventional modern human skull. How is this possible? As I have said, deformation can alter shape, but not the volume of bone material.

It is therefore obvious that we are dealing with 2 different phenomena; elongation through binding, and elongation via genetics. The Paracas skulls are the largest found in the world, but from what root race stock would they have originated?  To suggest that the natural elongation was the result of hydrocephaly or some other clinical condition is ridiculous, when one takes into account that again,  at least 300 of them were found by Tello, and no one knows how many are still under the earth, in private collections, or gathering dust in museum warehouses in Peru, and beyond. Hydrocephaly would tend to make the skull expand evenly, making them more round than elongated. What is also intriguing is that these Paracas skulls, on average, weigh 60 percent more than contemporary human skulls from the same area.

Tello believed that the Paracas were related to the people of the Chavin culture, who created the famous megalithic site of Chavin de Huantar, mainly based on the fact that he saw similarities in pottery designs and motifs, especially feline figures. However, to my knowledge, no elongated skulls have been found in the area where the Chavin lived, north of Lima in the Ancash district, so that clearly is not the answer as to their origins. But, since Tello was the expert and main archaeologist at Chavin, where he placed an origin date of at least 3000 years ago, he then simply applied this for the Paracas as well, and no one has dared or bothered to refute his time line until now.

Comments

adamcolon's picture

Ockham's Razor implies that the elongation is due to some human based manipulation and not that they're a different species.

Let's not jump to wild conclusions without validated and peer reviewed evidence to back it up.

Is there any relationship here to the Flathead Native Americans?

It seems likely, even obvious, to me that the elongated skull people were revered and that therefore the boarding may have been an attempt to imitate them.
Is this the general presumption?
I am very interested in any genetic results, particularly a comparison between the boarded skulls and the naturally elongated ones.

The museum owner may want to sell the skulls for thousands to fund the museum.

ancient-origins's picture

Hello Solenopsis, we have contacted Brien Foerster and his response was that there is nothing that can be disclosed at this time. 

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