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

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.
Possibly, but where did all the extra bone come from to make up the elongation?

I don't believe it (about the origin in the middle east) because they have different bones on sculls!!! Somebody is not telling the truth! Somebody is lying.

First you say the sun is yellow and than that it's orange ...stupid will believe that the sun is orange.... despite you already said that it's yellow.

I'm not a believer in any alien theories, but I wouldn't just dismiss it either. I have a little hypothesis of my own, I have no evidence to back it up other than my own self-knowledge into my own mind.

Think of this. WHY would people start elongating their skulls? I mean, what would be the motivation for that? It's hard to imagine just stumbling upon this, it has to be done in infancy, to be blunt, only a very select few cultures around the world engaged in the practice.

What if, and this is a pretty big "what if," that I only ask to entertain not be taken as any type of assertion... what if these cultures had some contact with humanoid alien life with elongated skulls. What if they were viewed as powerful and wise, superior, and the cultures were looking for ways to emulate or be like them.

Imagine seeing another "human" like that flying around in a saucer or some space-ship, with advanced technology perhaps a very impressive physical frame, or not, either way also possessing deep wisdom, insights, interpersonal skills, cognitive ability and powers of observation well beyond their own culture or any culture today.

I could imagine that if we had contact with such a peoples, that we would perhaps consider modifying the brain cavity of our infants thinking that a larger brain cavity would result in a larger brain, a super-intelligent child, of our own culture and of our own tribal group that could use his gifts to bless us with similar wisdom, raise our civilization to their level of technology, give us insights only they could see but that we would assume they are keeping to themselves, seeing us as outsiders.

Again it's kind of a wild hypothesis but if you look at indigenous peoples we've come into contact with, they display similar behavior, using our air-plains as inspirations for religious symbols, forming the basis of a new religion and so on.

there are so few different species which can interbreed, but they cant reproduce between them furthermore. That is in species which belong to the same zoological family, and genre. How could interbreed between so unrelated and genetically different - as human and aliens, be possible?

In fact there ARE a lot of examples of really strange mixes of breeds that one would have thought not possible - there is an alternate theory of human origins -based on this concept too- see MacroEvolution.net for the theory & for lots of reported mixes over hundreds of years, and some photos of actual illogical mixes. If you think about how your cat will hump your foot given half a chance, and a dog will 'have a go' at almost ANYTHING, you begin to understand just how MIXING OF GENETIC INFO COULD HAPPEN occasionally & in spite of genetic material that is not supposed to be compatible......Freaky things happen.... I love exciting concepts & the more the 'experts' poo-poo the ideas the more fascinating they are !

Veronica

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