Alien Or Human?
The scientists were at first absolutely baffled by the skull, as you didn’t have to be a doctor or scientist to immediately notice something was wrong with this so-called human. The similarity to an alien skull was unmistakable and made people consider they might be human-alien hybrids. Read the shocking truth.
Discovery In A Disputed Land
To understand why archaeologists decided to dig here, you need to understand the region where the skeleton was found. The unbelievable discovery was made in Crimea, the disputed region that was annexed by Russia from the Ukraine in 2014. There was a military intervention by the Russians, and eventually, they took control of the area, which has a strategically important port. Although it was disputed, the Russian government has decided to symbolize their victory as well as solidify their connection with the land by building a bridge there.
Chace Discovery Of Alien’s Grave
The bridge will be 12 miles long and connects Russia and Crimea. Right now, the only way to get from Russia to Crimea is by boat. However, the ferry is delayed or canceled frequently due to bad weather. Also, this bridge acts as a massive symbol that they will not be giving up the Crimean territory anytime soon. By total chance, the way it all worked out, the construction of the bridge left the nearby Crimean area Kyz-Aul open for archaeologists to discover this “alien’s grave.”
The specific discovery archaeologists at Kyz-Aul, Crimea, made was the skeleton of a baby, unfortunately. It was thought that the child passed away when he was one-and-a-half to two years old. The skeleton was from about the second century CE, meaning it is over 1900 years old! At first, the striking skeleton was reported by Russian state media as potential, “human-extraterrestrial hybrids.” This is according to those who believe in “ancient astronaut” theories, meaning those who believe that Aliens contacts humans in ancient times.
Why The Long Face
Although generally, these sorts of claims are not taken seriously, the strange skull found in Crimea at first seems to support the idea that extraterrestrials may have come to Earth in prehistoric times. It is understandable to make these claims, because looking at these skulls, they are extremely elongated, almost like something out of the Alien movie franchise. It is remarkable, as there was no surgery that could conceivably make this skeleton that was definitely human have a skull that was so elongated.
Relics Point To Ancient Culture
The skeleton was not the only thing found on the Crimean ground. Nearby the grave, there was a clay vessel found, as well as some beads. There were even more valuable jewelry items found as well. On the wrist of the skeleton was a copper bracelet. By examining these items, and combining it with everything they knew about the region, they reasoned that the boy must have been part of a group called the Sarmatians. The Sarmatians were neither Russian nor Ukrainian. They were ancient Iranians.
What do we know about the Sarmatians? Was there any evidence they were contacted by extraterrestrials? They were prominent for about 900 years, from the fifth century BCE until the fourth century CE. They were known for their language, Scythian, and also for their ability to ride horses skillfully, especially in battle. They were also known for having unmarried women who were warriors alongside the men. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, this may have inspired the Greek myths about Amazonian female warriors.
From Beyond The Grave
By analyzing the grave, archaeologists were able to tell a lot about the status of the person. The copper bracelet also gave an approximate date of when the unfortunate death occurred, as early Sarmatian gravesites only had the bodily remains. However, over time, they became richer as a culture, and the more affluent individuals would be buried with treasures. One scientist, Nikolay Sudarev, from the Archaeology Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences, had a similar explanation for the elongated head that is hard for anyone to refute….
Nikolay Sudarev, a researcher in the Department of Classical Archaeology, has at least 48 academic studies published and has offered his two cents on what this alien skull may be. First of all, he flatly denied the connection between extraterrestrials and the ancient Sarmatian peoples. Sudarev said that the Sarmatian people thought elongated skulls were, “more beautiful.” However, how did they come about? Was it natural? What did it symbolize, if anything? The answers are surprising. Sudarev’s knowledge continued to shed light on the matter.
In an interview Nikolay Sudarev gave with the Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, he explained more about the skulls. “Elongated skulls were traditional for the Sarmatian culture,” he said. The reason it was done was similar to the way that the copper bracelet showed that this child had been part of a rich family that could afford jewelry. Apparently, the elongated skulls symbolized that this boy was to become a “true warrior,” and it would make him, “more aggressive,” as a fighter. Was this head shape unique to Sarmatian culture?
Long History Of Long Heads
The Sarmatian people were not the only ones with long heads. The first written description was made by Hippocrates, a Greek physician whose name was used for the Hippocratic Oath, the solemn declaration all doctors make to this day to do no harm to their patients. The observation was made by the famed doctor around 400 BCE. The ritual probably occurred for many thousands of years before written records, though. The skull morphing begins a mere month after birth, in general, and continues on for about half a year.
Long And Widespread
These long skulls are actually very widespread, from East Germanic tribes who were ruled by the Huns like the Gepids and Ostrogoths, as well as American tribes. Skeletal records show that the Maya and the Inca both had elongated skulls. In North America, the Chinookans and the Choctaw Native American tribes both had long heads. Scientists and anthropologists today believe the skull shape signified group associations, proximity to the spirit world, and intelligence. Also, certain shapes were simply seen as aesthetically pleasing.
One pressing question that comes to mind when looking at these peoples’ stretched-out skulls is: did they have any negative health effects? Here is where scientists disagree. Archaeologists who have explored the graves of both long and regular skulls say that they see no difference in how the two groups were treated when it came to burial rituals, so perhaps they were the same while alive, too. However, osteologists still tend to believe that the cone shape of the head must have had an effect on cognitive functioning.
Since the long-headed people were seen as beautiful, the Sarmatians would actually make their kids (the ones who were selected and destined to be warriors) change the shape of their skull. How did they do it? Without any fancy access to modern surgical techniques, they did something called artificial cranial deformation, head binding, or head flattening. Since infant’s heads stay soft for a period of time, they used to tightly wrap cloth, or apply forces with wood planks to literally stretch newborns’ heads until they were elongated.
One of the most prominent examples of a recent society that practiced head-binding was in Vanuatu, a Pacific Island culture near Australia. The peoples on the island believed that longer heads meant more intelligence. It was so recent, there is a word that is partially their native language of Bislama, combined with a sort of pidgin English, “Longfala Hed,” meaning “Long Head,” which still means intelligence. It is almost like the way we would say someone is smart by calling them “Einstein.”
The Vanuatu Method
The head binding was done with materials all found on Tomman Island, one of the many islands of the Vanuatu archipelago. The native people found that their babies would get a rash from the tight binding cloth on their neonate, sensitive, thin skin. To prevent this, they made a cooked paste from the Navanai-Molo nut, which would act as a soothing ointment of sorts. The actual cloth itself was actually something called Ne’Enbobosit, which is made from banana tree bark.
From The Horses Mouth
A Vanuatu man explained in his own words why his culture does head binding, something that seems so outlandish and unsafe to Western cultures today. “We elongate the heads of our children because it is our tradition and it originates with the basic spiritual beliefs of our people,” he reported, according to the website of the Australian Museum. “We also see that those with elongated heads are more handsome or beautiful, and such long heads also indicate wisdom,” he said.
Why does wrapping a baby’s head in a cloth actually work to deform it? It is because the skull is very special. Humans have incredibly big brains that make us smart. They’re so big, however, that the brain and skull cannot grow to full form in the womb, or the baby would be too big to be born. Instead, the baby is born first, then the brain grows and an especially malleable and soft skull. Only at age five does the soft skull finally harden.
Who Are The Cool Kids?
In some cultures, the more cone-headed a person was, the more intelligent they were considered. However, this may not have been true of all cultures. How can you tell who was upper class? The flat-headed or the cone-headed? You could tell from some graves who the “cooler”, richer, people were from the jewelry they were buried with. A new method analyzes the bones to see the nutrition inside. Whoever’s skull–cone-shaped or not–was more well-fed must have been a higher class person.
Mercedes Okumura, a researcher from Brazil, studied remains of elongated skulls found in graves in the Andes mountains. What she found suggested that sometimes, sadly, infants potentially perished from the process of head wrapping. “Sometimes you would see bone necrosis,” she said, this apparently “happens when the bone lacks blood. Then the bone sort of rots—it’s quite ugly.” We have no idea how often these tragic accidents occurred, but they could not have been frequent enough to make the people stop deforming their skulls.
Up until now, we have only discussed tribes who practiced head binding on purpose. Sadly, there have been misguided ideas that accidentally led to head deformation. For example, in Toulouse, France, head binding has been practiced recently, even up until the early 1900’s! French peasants used to do their form of binding called bandeau, which was supposed to ironically protect newborns from injury, like a helmet of sorts. These lower class, poorer kids were apparently elicited sympathy from the higher classes who found the bandeau practice sad.
There was a hubbub surrounding elongated skulls that were found in modern-day Peru when DNA testing suggested that they may have been actually alien. However, the “study” was fraught with doubtful aspects. First of all, the announcement of the find was not published in a peer-reviewed journal, but was presented on Facebook. The person behind it has made appearances on TV shows like Ancient Aliens, which explores the idea that aliens visited Earth and shared technology with humans. There is no solid evidence to support this.
Arkaim is known as the Russian Stonehenge- a massive structure of concentric rings that potentially represents a map of the universe. The archeological site is holy for some religions like Zoroastrianism. Found there were elongated skulls, which were so striking that immediately, there were claims that the skulls were alien. However, Maria Makurova, a researcher, was quick to propose an alternative: the skull belongs to a woman from the Sarmati tribe. The tribe tied, “up the heads of their children with rope,” according to Makurova.
Not Only Heads
These sorts of deforming practices were not done only to developing skulls, but also to feet. Foot binding was done in China in a similar way to head binding was done in Vanuatu and Mesoamerica. It was widespread among higher class people in the 10th century and was a status symbol. The logic was that those who had their feet bound were prevented from walking normally, but it was okay since they did not need to work as they were rich.
Extreme Choker Necklace
Other tribes such as the Kayan people in Myanmar have a different beauty standard. Sort of like the elongated heads of the Sarmatians, these people believe that a long neck is aesthetically important and pleasing. To achieve a giraffe-like, elongated neck, the Kayan women start wearing necklaces, which are almost like extreme chokers; they are stiff, heavy rings. Even though girls wear them at a young age, they do not actually stretch the neck, but give the appearance of elongation.
Another way people modify their bodies is when it comes to their pearly whites. Many cultures file down their teeth; many did it to make them sharper like the predatory animals around them, but some did it simply as part of their rite-of-passage ceremonies. Classic Balinese culture believed that the teeth were physical manifestations of negative emotions, and filing them down was a way to balance the humors. Now you do not have to feel so bad for not flossing every night.
The Mursi people in Ethiopia are a tribe who does another body modification involving the head. This time, it is the lips. Women make an incision in a young girls’ lip, and plug it such that a plate of pottery can eventually fit in the hole. Although people thought the size of the plate used to mean something, it is more about preference, and how much a girl can physically carry in the lip hole. It is quite similar to how people express themselves in Western society with piercings.
It May Seem Strange
When we look at the Sarmatians, or the peoples of Vanuatu, or the Mursi people, we may think that their practices are barbaric, pitiable, and outdated. It is important to turn that same skeptical lens onto our own society. It has become commonplace for hipsters to use stretching earrings, which is a sort of cousin of the body modifications of ancient tribes. Archaeologists of the future will look at our society and perhaps wonder if aliens were involved as well.