One of more than 300 deformed and elongated skulls, discovered on the Peruvian Paracas-Peninsula. | Copyright: Brien Foerster
Saarbrucken (Germany) - The world-wide phenomenon of strangely elongated skulls puzzles experts as well as laymen since the first discoveries. While it is known that the vast majority of these unusual de-formed skulls are the result of splinting and binding the skull already in early childhood, some researchers think different when it comes to a few rare examples in which the absence of the usual signs for such procedures point to a more "natural" while still baffling cause. Last but not least the origin, meaning and purpose of the unusual tradition of cranial deformation are still in the dark. The trained biologist and alternative researcher Brien Foerster is one of those researchers and has put some of the unusual deformed skulls from Peru to a DNA-test. In an interview with the German daily online-newsmagazine on frontier sciences and the paranormal - "www.grewi.de" - Foerster talks for the first time in detail about the fascinating but still preliminary results.
GreWi-Editor Andreas Müller: Mr. Foerster, many thanks in advance that you are going to tell us more about the initial but preliminary results of the DNA analysis of some of the elongated skulls from Paracas. Would you first give us a little overview of the background and characteristics of these skulls?
Brien Foerster: Sure. Paracas is a desert peninsula in the Pisco Province within the Ica Region on the south coast of Peru. In 1928 Peruvian archaeologist Julio Tello made an amazing discovery: A large and elaborate graveyard containing tombs filled with the remains of individuals with the largest elongated skulls found anywhere in the world. Tello found more than 300 of these skulls, which are believed to date back up to 3,000 years. Those skulls became known as the "Paracas Skulls".Brien Foerster. | Copyright: B.Foerster, hiddenincatours.com
We were permitted to take samples from five of more than 40 elongated skulls which are held by the local "Paracas History Museum". The samples consisted of hair (including roots), a tooth, skull bone and skin, while this process was carefully documented with photos and on video. With the help of the late Starchild researcher and founder of the "Starchild Project". Lloyd Pyle, samples were send to a geneticist in Texas for the procedure of DNA analysis.
GreWi: Could you summarize the results so far and tell us about it's implications?
Foerster: You must remember that these are initial results, and only from one of 40 skulls in the Paracas History Museum, and only one of hundreds of skulls that I know about in Peru and Bolivia. However, the fact that these results come from a highly qualified geneticist who has access to state of the art machines is important.
This geneticist tested one of the three skulls, but had no idea which one and what the skull looked like until very recently; long after the sample had been extracted. He will also be testing the other two skulls as a somewhat "double blind" test. I guess you will understand that at this state I can not tell you which skull he tested so far with the preliminary results we are going to discuss here.
Since some segments of the test DNA do not match any segments known in Homo sapiens, and not in related forms such as Neanderthal or Denisova, it seems that the Paracas may be a distinct species of some kind. However, much more testing must be carried out.
Another example of a Paracas Skull. | Copyright: Brien Foerster
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GreWi: Could you tell us your very own view about the results and what they mean?
Foerster: The Paracas are mysterious no matter how you look at them. They appear about 1000 BC, from an unknown origin, have reddish brown hair and elongated skulls (among the royal class), seem to have known the potter's wheel, and made the finest textiles in pre-Colombian Peru.
I am starting to suppose that at least some of their ancestry came by ship, with sail, from another part of the world. Also, they mysteriously disappeared about 100 AD, possibly having been exterminated by the Nazca culture, who invaded their territory.GreWi: Can you tell us more about who did the analysis and where it was done?
Foerster: At this time, all I can say is that the geneticist is in the United States, and has many government contracts, thus he must be at the top of his profession.GreWi: What are the next planed steps?
Foerster: More testing of samples of the Paracas will be conducted by two, or perhaps three independent laboratories in the US over the coming months, as well as a Carbon-14 dating and perhaps blood tests. It is also planed to analyze the elongated skull of a small mummy that was discovered in 2011 in the archives of the "Ritos Andinos"-Museum in Cusco.
Skull and reconstruction of the Cusco-Mummy. | Copyright: Marcia K. Moore, ciamarstudio.com
GreWi: How and where will you publish the final results?
Foerster: That is unknown at this time. Peer reviewed journals will be a possibility, as well as documentaries and sharing directly with the general public.GreWi: Did you receive already feedback from other scientist and experts in DNA analysis, anthropology or the science-community in general?
Foerster: Not on or from these initial results.GreWi: Why - in your opinion - can the analyzed Paracas skull not be the result of the known traditional and mechanical causes for cranial deformation?
Foerster: It is well known, that most of the known elongated skulls are the result of cranial deformation like head flattening or head binding in which the skull was intentionally deformed by applying force over a long period of time. However such techniques - for example binding the head between two pieces of wood or binding it in cloth – did change the shape of the skull, but it did not change neither its volume, weight, nor other features of a regular human skull.
This is what makes some of the Paracas skulls different: Their cranial volume is up to 25 percent larger and the skulls can be up to 60 percent heavier than comparable normal human skulls. Therefore they can not bet he result of an intentional traditional cranial deformation due to binding or head flattening. The skulls we are talking about also contain only one parietal plate, where normal human skulls have two.GreWi: So the skull we are talking about here that went through the DNA testing does not show known features and traces of the known traditional techniques like for example scrape marks etc.?
So if those features are not present then the elongation can not be the result of traditional cranial deformation. And therefore the cause for the elongation was and still is a mystery.
Foerster: The vast majority of the elongated skulls of Peru and Bolivia, between 90 and 95% show obvious signs of cranial deformation; flattened areas of the forehead or back of the head especially, where boards or other stiff material was placed and bound with rope or textile.
Graphical face-reconstruction based on an elongated skull. | Copyright: Marcia K. Moore, ciamarstudio.com
It is the tantalizing 5 or so percent that show no flattening at all, and the skulls are curved so as to appear natural.
The basic theory is that a small population of people or beings were in fact born with heads of this shape, only had one parietal plate (instead of the two plates common in most humans) large eye sockets and two curious holes in the backs of their skulls.
They either interbred with normal humans, and over time the genetic elongated skull characteristics began to disappear resulted in the necessity of later cranial deformation, or the Paracas may have been wiped out by other people, and then their characteristics emulated.
Another example of a Paracas Skull. | Copyright: Brien Foerster
GreWi: What are you saying to those who still refer to the known Inca-king's practice of artificial cranial deformation as the cause for the elongation?
Foerster: What I am working on is the entire pattern of where cranial deformation, and the presence of elongated skulls occurred in Peru and Bolivia. They seem to have been present in these two countries extensively, and not much in other South American countries.
There is also a strong correlation between the construction of megalithic buildings and the presence of elongated skulls. The Inca may have been the last high culture in Peru to practice cranial deformation, and in fact the Spanish outlawed this process in the 16th century.
Reconstruction based on a south American elongated skull. | Marcia K. Moore, ciamarstudio.com
As no one honestly knows where the Inca came from, I am attempting to weave the past back together through the study of migration patterns, ancient road systems, and linguistic links.GreWi: Anything you want to add from your side?
Foerster: As said before: This is only the beginning of the testing of elongated skulls from many parts of the world, as the phenomenon of cranial deformation was conducted in places such as Russia, the Middle East, Melanesia, Central America, Germany, England and other places, most commonly about 2000 years ago.GreWi: Dear Mr. Foerster, many thanks for your interesting answers and information
- Find out more about Brien Foerster on his Website
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