A Paracas elongated skull and an artist’s impression based on a digital reconstruction.

New DNA Testing on 2,000-Year-Old Elongated Paracas Skulls Changes Known History

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The elongated skulls of Paracas in Peru caused a stir in 2014 when a geneticist that carried out preliminary DNA testing reported that they have mitochondrial DNA “with mutations unknown in any human, primate, or animal known so far”. Now a second round of DNA testing has been completed and the results are just as controversial – the skulls tested, which date back as far as 2,000 years, were shown to have European and Middle Eastern Origin. These surprising results change the known history about how the Americas were populated.

Paracas is a desert peninsula located within Pisco Province on the south coast of Peru.  It is here where Peruvian archaeologist, Julio Tello, made an amazing discovery in 1928 – a massive and elaborate graveyard containing tombs filled with the remains of individuals with the largest elongated skulls found anywhere in the world. These have come to be known as the ‘ Paracas skulls ’. In total, Tello found more than 300 of these elongated skulls, some of which date back around 3,000 years.

Elongated skulls on display at Museo Regional de Ica in the city of Ica in Peru

Elongated skulls on display at Museo Regional de Ica in the city of Ica in Peru ( public domain )

Strange Features of the Paracas Skulls

It is well-known that most cases of skull elongation are the result of cranial deformation, head flattening, or head binding, in which the skull is intentionally deformed by applying force over a long period of time. It is usually achieved by binding the head between two pieces of wood, or binding in cloth. However, while cranial deformation changes the shape of the skull, it does not alter other features that are characteristic of a regular human skull.

In a recent interview with Ancient Origins, author and researcher LA Marzulli describes how some of the Paracas skulls are different to ordinary human skulls:

“There is a possibility that it might have been cradle headboarded, but the reason why I don’t think so is because the position of the foramen magnum is back towards the rear of the skull. A normal foramen magnum would be closer to the jaw line…”

LA Marzulli points to the position of the foramen magnum in a Paracas skull which is also the point at which they drilled in order to extract bone powder for DNA testing.

LA Marzulli points to the position of the foramen magnum in a Paracas skull which is also the point at which they drilled in order to extract bone powder for DNA testing.

Marzulli explained that an archaeologist has written a paper about his study of the position of the foramen magnum in over 1000 skulls. “He states that the Paracas skulls, the position of the foramen magnum is completely different than a normal human being, it is also smaller, which lends itself to our theory that this is not cradle headboarding, this is genetic.”

In addition, Marzulli described how some of the Paracas skulls have a very pronounced zygomatic arch (cheek bone), different eye sockets and no sagittal suture, which is a connective tissue joint between the two parietal bones of the skull.

The pronounced cheek bones can be seen in artist Marcia Moore’s interpretation of how the Paracas people looked based on a digital reconstruction from the skulls.

The pronounced cheek bones can be seen in artist Marcia Moore’s interpretation of how the Paracas people looked based on a digital reconstruction from the skulls. Marcia Moore  / Ciamar Studio

In a normal human skull, there should be a suture which goes from the frontal plate … clear over the dome of the skull separating the parietal plates - the two separate plates – and connecting with the occipital plate in the rear,” said Marzulli. “We see many skulls in Paracas that are completely devoid of a sagittal suture.

There is a disease known as craniosynostosis, which results in the fusing together of the two parietal plates, however, Marzulli said there is no evidence of this disease in the Paracas skulls.

The sagittal suture, highlighted in red, separates the two parietal plates

The sagittal suture, highlighted in red, separates the two parietal plates ( public domain )

LA Marzulli shows the top of one of the Paracas skulls, which has no sagittal suture.

LA Marzulli shows the top of one of the Paracas skulls, which has no sagittal suture.

DNA Testing

The late Sr. Juan Navarro, owner and director of the Museo Arqueologico Paracas, which houses a collection of 35 of the Paracas skulls, allowed the taking of samples from three of the elongated skulls for DNA testing, including one infant. Another sample was obtained from a Peruvian skull that had been in the US for 75 years. One of the skulls was dated to around 2,000 years old, while another was 800 years old.

The samples consisted of hair and bone powder, which was extracted by drilling deeply into the foramen magnum. This process, Marzulli explained, is to reduce the risk of contamination. In addition, full protective clothing was worn.

The samples were then sent to three separate labs for testing – one in Canada, and two in the United States. The geneticists were only told that the samples came from an ancient mummy, so as not to create any preconceived ideas.  

Comments

Red or blond headed Euro/Asiatic people could not have made the trip to the Americas thousands of years ago, due to their lack of cognitive skills and ability.   It is a fact that the African cranial practice of “LIPOMBO” (elongation of skulls into a cone shape) has been practiced for more than 3000 years among various African Royals as to distinguish themselves from common people.  Even today, Black African tribe people called “Mangbetu” still practice this ancient art of intentional cranial deformity as a means of distinguishing leaders from common members within their society.   Also, Egyptian tomb and pyramidal reliefs dating back 3,000+ years show that “LIPOMBO” was practiced on King Tut, Akhenaten, Nefertiti etc, to distinguish Black Egyptian Royalty from the common member in society.   As far as red hair on mummy’s are concerned, that same method is still used by modern day Black Africans who are still walking around with jet black skin and a funny looking reddish hair.  It is quite obvious that the cranial art of “Lipombo” (elongated skulls into cone shapes) was introduced into Peru at a later date by Black Africans.   There were many other Black Africans who traveled to the Americas thousands of years ago such as the 100% Black Olmec’s, and there are numerous artifacts and gigantic deity statues which proves that fact, including the ancient Olmec statue  which the Mexican scientists refer to as “EL NEGRO”, which is on display in the national museum in Tuxteco, Mexico.  Then, of course there are those innovative African pyramids which stands about a 45 minute ride outside of Mexico City, called the “Sun and Moon” which I actually attempted to climb but was afraid of the height…..It is true that many of these so call DNA lab company’s are not reliable for credible information……   So no, the elongated skull Paracas people of Peru were not white blue eyed “Scythian” paleo/slavic blond/red headed people, and they were not Aliens from Mars…...

Charles Bowles

Sandra Bowdler, I agree with you 100%, in that i never heard od a radiocarbon dating lab not wanting free publicity….It smell like a “fish” somewhere.  This whole article is so unscientific and ridiculous.  This article is only devoted to claiming that red/blond hair, blue eyed people were the first american’s, and built highly technological ships to travel the world.  The article also refers to the Sumerians, Phoenicians, (Canaanites) as being blond hair, blue eyed Caucasians ha ha ha….Even though documented history tells us that the Sumerians referred to themselves as “SAGIGGA” which meant “black/bald headed people” and not white bald headed people.  History also tells us that the Levant was simply an ancient Egyptian colony, and later a “Vassal”, which territory stretched from Egypts present day border of Israel, to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.  Also, elongated heads is an old African cranial art called “LIPOMBO” which has been used for more than 3000 years and practiced on the heads of king Tut, Nefertiti, King Akhenaten, Ptolemy VI etc, and can be observed in their many tomb and pyramidal reliefs. Also, the present day Mangbetu Tribe of the Congo still practices this cranial art to distinguish their tribal leaders from the common people.  If these people are not trying to call Black innovative societies “white”, they are trying to connect it with an unknown Galaxy of Aliens which they have absolutely no knowledge..

Charles Bowles

Labs don't need publicity, its not like we can drive business to them. But if the results are contrary to the accepted paradigm then it becomes negative publicity which no one needs. An example of this is when a lab was given samples and not told what the samples are. When the date came back millions of years off then the lab was embarrassed and refused to date more samples from that submitter.
You can google lab refuses to date samples.

You say "Two of the labs wish to remain anonymous". Really!?! First time I ever heard of a radiocarbon dating lab rejecting ANY free publicity

ancient-origins's picture

Two of the labs wish to remain anonymous. The third lab is the Canadian one in Thunder Bay. 

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