The Paracas Elongated Skulls: More Boneheaded Nephilim Claims

If you’re interested in phony DNA research to prop up ancient alien hybrids and alleged nephilim skulls, you’re in luck. Two recent posts came to my attention today. They’re both long, but well worth the time.

First, there’s the essay by Frank Johnson at the Ancient Aliens Debunked blog: “Another Bone to Pick…With Peruvian Nephilim/Alien Hybrids.” It’s a good survey/refutation of the alleged evidence. It’ll get you up to speed on the claims and personalities involved.

Next we have (drum roll, please) a real archaeologist weigh in on the skulls – Keith Fitzpatrick Matthews on the Bad Archaeology blog. Keith’s essay, “The Paracas skulls: aliens, an unknown hominid species or cranial deformation?” is nothing short of devastating. In particular, pretend anthropologist Brien Foerster, a participant in the upcoming “Nephilim Skull Tour” comes out looking very bad, even dumb. (Just read it). This essay deals a bit with the DNA issue, but focuses more on the forensics of the skulls themselves.

Where’s the verse in the Bible again about nephilim having elongated skulls? (crickets chirping)

The Starchild Skull and Its DNA Testing: No Proof of an Alien Hybrid

Frank Johnson of the Ancient Aliens Debunked (AAD) blog recently posted this lengthy essay concerning alleged DNA evidence that the Starchild Skull was that of a human0alien hybrid child: “A Bone to Pick with the Starchild Skull.”

It’s well worth the read, and you should follow the links that relate to the testing itself. The post not only goes into the selective use (and discarding) of DNA evidence, but also its misinterpretation. The post features comments (which have been public for some time) by Dr. Robert Carter. Carter’s PhD is in marine biology, but he’s knowledgeable about the interpretation of DNA evidence.

I’ve been holding some email comments for years from my own go-to expert in genetics (PhD in biology whose doctoral work was DNA-related) about the Starchild skull’s DNA testing and Carter’s own comments. I was waiting for the Starchild’s keeper, Lloyd Pye, to go through with his promise of further DNA testing. In the wake of Pye’s recent passing, I doubt that will happen.

I’ve decided to post excerpts of the comments below, without identifying the geneticist. There’s no point unless we get further testing. My resource thinks the alien claims for the skull and its DNA defense are bunk. Interestingly, he has bones to pick with Carter’s analysis (my guy is a real geneticist, so he’s bound to see flaws in Carter’s analysis). He also knows Carter. I’ve taken the liberty of inserting a few editorial remarks of my own (MSH) that have a bearing on what my guy says and what the AAD essay says.


I skimmed over the links you sent, and here are my thoughts for what they’re worth:

1.  Based on the description of the mtDNA results, the normal skull is not the mother or sibling of the abnormal one.  They have different mtDNA types, and mtDNA is (nearly) always maternally inherited.  So they cannot be maternally related.  Could be father/son though.

[MSH: This strikes me as important since, as the AAD post points out, initial Starchild DNA tests had the child as a male. These results were set aside by Pye because of “contamination” – more likely, because they didn’t support his ideas; see the AAD post for that discussion.]

2.  The description of the “shotgun” sequencing [in the Starchild report – MSH] is very crude, obviously written by someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Assuming that they’re describing real sequences from the abnormal skull, the conclusions they reach do not follow.  In particular, this statement is totally false: “To have recovered a string of base pairs 342 nucleotides long with NO reference in the NIH database is astounding because it means there is NO known earthly corollary for what has been analyzed!”

All it means is that we haven’t encountered that particular nucleotide sequence yet.  It happens all the time.  Usually, with every genome of a new genus or species that we sequence, some measurable fraction (10-30%) is DNA sequence we’ve never seen before (i.e., has no match in the public database).  In the case of the skull, the novel DNA is probably just contamination from bacteria or fungi or some other critter that
participated in the decomposition of the body.

[MSH: Note the contamination issue again – and make sure to zero in on that in the AAD post.  Pye’s claims of contamination were self-serving. He used that as an excuse when something didn’t suit his alien hybrid view, but ignore that possibility in other contexts.]

3. … Yes, the description of the shotgun sequencing is incompetent (for the reasons [Carter] cites), but I see no reason to suspect that the description is intentionally deceptive.  Not only that, but from my perusal it looks like Carter entirely missed the issue of contamination, which is the probable source of the novel DNA sequence.

[MSH: In other words, my source chalks this up to incompetence, not deliberate deception. Who knows?]

BBC’s Head-in-the-Sand Report on “New” Pyramid Building Theory

Ah, the archeo-pundit media. To quote Time Bandits, one of my favorite college-years movies, “You are so mercifully free from the ravages of intelligence.”

A BBC reporter published this clueless piece today: “Newport Man’s Theory Turns Pyramid Building on its Head.” The big idea? The pyramid was built from the inside out.

Yes, you read that correctly. This is only news if (like the BBC) you’ve never heard of Jean-Pierre Houdin, or never watched the National Geographic special on this now famous French architect’s internal ramp theory about how the Great Pyramid was built, or never sat through my Egyptology class. Honestly, National Geographic wrote about this nearly seven years ago, as did Archaeology magazine.

So no, this guy from Newport isn’t on to anything ground-breaking. He’s behind the curve. But at least his restoration work is lending (more) support to Houdin’s earlier theory.

For information on Houdin and his theory, see the links and books below.

YouTube index (a few videos on the idea)

The Em-Hotep blog has written a great deal on Houdin and the internal ramp theory

Books and Videos:

The Secret of the Great Pyramid: How One Man’s Obsession Led to the Solution of Ancient Egypt’s Greatest Mystery

Khufu: The Secrets Behind the Building of the Great Pyramid

(DVD) Unlocking the Great Pyramid

Aerial Archaeology, Anatolia, and Ancient Persia

I recently came across some open-access resources that some readers might find interesting and useful.1 Here are the links:

APAAME – The Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology in the Middle East

ANADOLU – Open Access scholarly journal for the study of Anatolia (what’s now Turkey)

Online Encyclopædia Iranica


  1. My apologies to ancient astronaut believers who might be confused by real research.

Margaret Barker and the Jordan Codices

This past June Dr. Margaret Barker was on Coast to Coast AM talking about the infamous Jordan Codices. Barker is a legitimate scholar in the fields of biblical studies and Second Temple Judaism. She’s a favorite author of mine, not because I always (or even often) agree with her, but because she’s out of the box.

My fondness for Barker’s work won’t stop me from being critical of her thinking, though. Her thoughts about these codices, which basically the rest of the scholarly community thinks are fakes, for very good reasons, are a case in point. But I don’t have to chime in myself, as a fellow scholar and friend of mine, Dan McClellan, has already done so. Dan is one of a handful of scholars who has followed the codices saga very closely and done a lot of work to chronicle it for the rest of us. I recommend reading Dan’s critique of her appearance.

New Scholarly E-Book Launch for Greek and Latin Literature

My employer, Logos Bible Software, announced a new brand today – Noet, the beginning of our effort to do for classical Greek and Latin literature what we did for biblical studies. You can read our CEO’s blog post about the launch to get introduced to what Noet’s all about. Here are some excerpts:

Noet (rhymes with “poet”) is the Logos platform repurposed for scholarly ebooks outside biblical studies: Greek and Latin classics, philosophy, literature, Shakespeare, Judaica, etc. We will reuse the key Logos platform components with Noet branding, from the online bookstore to desktop software to web viewers to mobile apps on iOS and Android.

But more excitingly, we’ll customize Logos 5′s tools to support the special needs of disciplines beyond biblical and theological studies: we’ll support powerful searching of philosophical themes, interlinear editions of classical texts, word-for-word comparisons of different editions of Shakespeare, and even specialized timelines and infographics.

Logos has offered a wide range of content for many years, and there’s a lot of content in other fields that our users find useful: Greek and Latin classical literature is important to serious biblical study and lexicography; philosophy is of interest to theologians and seminary students. We want to develop the tools that will support students of the Bible in these adjacent disciplines.

Learn more at

The Geo-Centric Universe: Yep, There are Still People Who Believe It

The Exposing Pseudoastronomy podcast devoted a recent episode to this long held myth. It’s a classic mis-reading of the Bible, which never actually makes the claim, though church authorities of all stripes assumed it (assisted by “creatively” reading into the text) throughout history. I recommend it to PaleoBabble readers since you don’t hear too much about it these days (for what I thought were obvious reasons). There are some good links to resources about the model and its critique.

Robert Ripley: A More Honest Showman Than Steven Greer

I just blogged this over at UFO Religions so I thought I’d reproduce this here.


In the latest twist to the Steven Greer ET disclosure shell game (hat tip to BK), Greg Newkirk of the Who Forted? blog and Lee Spiegel of the Huffington Post (photo credit for the image below) have produced evidence that Robert Ripley of Ripley’s Believe it Or Not fame had found a 6.5-inch “alien” he called “Atta-boy” (Ripley’s specimen was from Peru, not Atacama, Chile, the region from which Greer’s “alien” hails, so the phonetic similarity seems coincidental).


Ripley of course believe the specimen to be a mummified human. That’s still where my money is, since the 91% of the DNA that is identifiable to this point is human (and again, DNA testing of ancient specimens like this rarely produce completely identifiable genomes — that’s why there’s more than one way to DNA test such things).

The mummification thing keeps coming up. Readers know this is what I suggested at the beginning. I didn’t do that because I’m clairvoyant. Rather, I read things like scholarly journal articles on mummification like this one (the Atacama region is referenced on pp. 258 and 260). The abstract states in part:

This essay explores the idea that arsenic poisoning was the impetus for the origin of the oldest mummification practice in the world. The Chinchorro people artificially mummified fetuses and infants starting 7000 years ago, but we do not know why.

It stands to reason that mummification might have something to do with this (these) specimen(s) and thus account for anomalies (were the process known).

Incidentally, Atacama is also a region of Chile known for “cranial modification” — just like certain Peruvian regions. Cranial modification refers to deliberately shaping of the *human* head to a conical form (sorry, folks, those pictures you see on the internet are neither mysteries nor nephilim skulls). I can’t provide links to full articles on that due to copyright laws, but here you go:

Christina Torres-Rouff, “Cranial Vault Modification and Ethnicity in Middle Horizon San Pedro de Atacama, Chile,” Current Anthropology 43:1 (Feb 2002).

Christina Torres-Rouff, “The Influence of Tiwanaku on Life in the Chilean Atacama: Mortuary and Bodily Perspectives,” American Anthropologist 110:3 (Sept 2008): 325-337.




Extraterrestrial Hippies? New Research on Egyptian Technology Tries to Get Noticed Online

A few days Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) posted a link online to an article entitled, “Extraterrestrial Elements in Egyptian Equipment.” Ancient astronaut believers (and Giorgio Tsoukalos’ hairdresser) no doubt saw the title and got pretty excited about the possibilities.

Sounds startling, doesn’t it? The word “elements” conjures up mental imagery about physics, metallurgy, and “space age” technological knowledge on the part of the Egyptians. It’s nice titling if you want to generate hits online. At least someone working at BAR isn’t a crusty field archaeologist in their seventies. But when you actually read the article you’ll find out it’s about iron beads.

You read that correctly. Beads.

The focus of the essay is about the extraterrestrial source of the iron in certain Egyptian beads. No, the iron didn’t come from a UFO crash, or alien gods trading advanced material in exchange for . . . something. Rather, the iron came from meteorites.

Rocks that the Egyptians saw fall from space, not intelligent visitors from space. But still interesting.