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

(Read the article on one page)

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

"...even though no one has ever seen an Alien other than in “Starwars” movies"

Not true. Many people from all over the world have seen them for millennia and have been documented in a variety of ways, however, most people nowadays simply dismiss this as mythology, etc. Many, many alien craft have been filmed and even documented for quite some time now but skeptics offer ridiculous alternative explanations.

Charles Bowles -

You should not just dismiss the ‘alien theories’ out of hand – there are too many things going unanswered that we actually read about these days. You cannot dismiss the very real experience of a whole class of schoolchildren in Africa (Angola I believe) who saw a craft land near their school and saw a group of alien beings standing there watching them for a long time, and can still tell the story VERY convincingly to this day – they also said the ‘beings’ seemed to be ‘talking’ to them & telling them they needed to care for the world ! . They were intelligent kids, some white, some black obviously from middle-class families and there is basically no answer to their experience. Also – there are now several astronauts who believe in UFO’s and extra-terestrial beings, who also are intelligent people with reputations to guard. Plus the numerous pilots who have seen UFO’s with their own eyes – many of them. SOMETHING is going on without normal human answers, and to just pooh-pooh their stories is beyond civil. You need to keep an open mind, be aware that you really know very little of what is ‘out there’ & the paranormal of course, and be ready to learn or stay blind to the wonders of our universe – your choice !!!!! 

Veronica

It is a good idea to differentiate between the skulls that were obviously extended deliberately – which have all the normal fissures, and those which are obviously NOT those of a normal human – ie have NO central fissure – there are some shown on most of the articles on this subject. SO – unless they are fake, ie deliberately constructed, or all had the known disease that can cause this condition, these are skulls from an UNKNOWN type of human – make sure we note which ones are looked at – only those with the missing fissure should be investigated & discussed to keep things understandable. There is one of those skulls’ pictures that looks as tho the image is ‘doctored’ – ie it appears to have a blurry mark around the top of the skull as tho someone created the picture or the skull. So we need to make sure there is not just a big ‘story’ being concocted to keep us amused.  Please do not make things up, there are quite enough myseteries without fake nonsense intruding into the picture !!! 

Veronica

Actually, age erases the sagital suture on almost everyone. most people over 50 have skulls that lack this landmark of the skull. The skulls in question are simply the skulls of old people.

No way to KNOW these are skulls of old people. These skulls look like ancient Egyptians. Could Kukulkan/ Viracocha been Egyptians? Are these large headed people a hidden branch of humanity? If they are only between 800- 2000 years old, where are they now? Where did they go?

Pages

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Myths & Legends

Open Book Photo
A legend is a tale regarded as historical even though it has not been proven, and the term “myth” can refer to common yet false ideas. Many myths and legends describe our history, but they are often treated skeptically. This is because many of them, while explaining a phenomenon, involve divine or supernatural beings.

Human Origins

Noah's Sacrifice - watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot
The imperfect state of archaeological researches in the Near East impedes any definite identification of the original race or races that created the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. According to Gordon Childe, however, the predominant racial element in the earliest graves in the region from Elam to the Danube is the ‘Mediterranean’.

Ancient Technology

Opinion

The ancient and mysterious Sphinx, Giza, Egypt.
In 1995, NBC televised a prime-time documentary hosted by actor Charlton Heston and directed by Bill Cote, called Mystery of the Sphinx. The program centered on the research and writings of John Anthony West, a (non-academic) Egyptologist, who, along with Dr. Robert Schoch, a professor of Geology at Boston University, made an astounding discovery on the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article