Nestled in a cave near Sidi Moktar which is about 62 miles west of Marrakesh in Morocco seven significant hominid fossils have been found since 1991 which have been dated at about 160 kya. The cave is known as the Jebel Irhoud site. These fossil remains consist of two adult skulls designated as Irhoud 1 and 2. A child’s mandible has also been found at this site (Irhoud 3) along with a child’s humerus (Irhoud 4). The significance of these fossil remains was not realized fully until 2007. Originally, they were classified as belonging to North African Neanderthals but they have now been reclassified as early AMH (anatomically modern humans).
These skulls are similar to those found in Israel, namely, the fossil remains of Qafzeh-Skhul early modern humans which were found in Lower Galilee (Qahzeh) and on the slopes of Mt Carmel (Skhul). The Skhul remains are believed to be those of a descendant of H. heidelbergensis known as “Paleoanthropus palestinensis.” These skulls are dated at 80-120 kyr. The skull known as Skhul 5 was assumed to be an “advanced Neanderthal” but today is classed as modern human. In other words, this skull likely is from the offspring of a modern human, Neanderthal hybrid. Continue Reading
This post was formerly entitled: “The Pericues: Proof of Homo erectus in Baja”—–
The Pericues also known as the Pericu, Cora, and Edues were the aboriginal inhabitants of the Cape Region which is the southernmost end of Baja California Sur, Mexico. Sine the late 18th century, sadly, they have been culturally and linguistically extinct.
Baja California Native American Tribes
Of special interest here is that these people had very distinctive hyperdolichocephic skulls. That is, they were known for their distinctive long headed skulls. Some researchers believe that the Pericu were either were trans-Pacific migrants or remnants of some of the oldest colonizers of the New World. Their burials feature remains painted with red ochre (Las Palmas burial complex) which sometimes were deposited in caves or under rock shelters. These people used the atlatl and darts along with the bow and arrow up through the 17th century. When the Spanish came to the Americas they enslaved the Pericu until they revolted in 1734. The revolt lasted for two years until the Spanish reasserted authority over them. Many of the Pericu died of diseases brought by the Spanish as well. Continue Reading
Maka woman in Pacific Northwest from 1900
In a recent post to his webpage Linguist Robert Lindsay makes two important observations (among others). In the final paragraph he notes how the Mozabite people in Algeria are Caucasoid but they are “some of the weirdest-looking Caucasoids I have ever seen. They don’t really look like any other race of humans..” He notes some look like people from India. He also notes that in papers about the genesis of the Caucasian race North Africa, the Middle East, and India are mentioned (frequently) as hubs for the development of this race 30-40 kya. He further notes that the Mozabite people are mentioned over and over when remains of ancient genetic groups are discussed along with the Uighur “for some odd reason.” I think this is because some researchers consider the Mozabites and Uighur to be some of the most ancient people on the planet.
This is subject matter for a future post I think but for now I want to focus on something else Lindsay said in this post. He notes, “There are also links between Orcadians (Scottish Islanders) and Siberians.” This is true and has been acknowledged by some researchers. Then Lindsay goes on to say this:
“Skulls from Europe from 21,000 YBP (years before present) look more like Amerindians than anything else. The closest match-up between those ancient European skulls is the Makah Amerindian tribe from Europe.”
Now the Makah are actually a Native American tribe currently dwelling in Washington State in the Pacific Northwest of the US. They are a federally recognized tribe. These people have hunted whales and seals for generations. So I’m not sure what Lindsay means by saying the Makah “tribe from Europe” because most anthropologist believe these people came via the Beringia Landbridge into North America and never were in Europe. However, skulls of SOME Europe from around 21 kya DO in fact resemble Amerindian skulls!
In 2007 there was a find and DNA analysis that undercut recent theories about Paleoamericans (the first people in the New World) having originally come from SE Asia or even Europe. That find was the “Cave Maiden.” These remains were of a teenage girl found in a Mexican cave who lived about 12 kya. The cave is the Outland Cave in the Yucatan. Her bones are believed to be one of the oldest and most complete skeletons ever found in the Americas. DNA analysis showed her ancestry was from a now vanished land between Siberia and Alaska. Continue Reading
Patagonia is a region at the southern end of Argentina and Chile in South America. It contains the southern end of the Andes and the desert steppes and grasslands east of this mountain range. It is bounded by both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Lake Pehoe, Patagonia
The name “Patagonia” has a rather interesting meaning. This region was named by the famous navigator and explorer Magellan in 1520. “Patagonia” is derived from the word “patagon.” Magellan used this name to describe the people that he and his men thought were “giants”! Most historians believe that the people he was referring to were the Tehuelches who just happened to be a a bit taller than your average European at the time. The name of these people, Tehuelches, actually means “the fierce people” in their native tongue.
When the Spanish explorers first set foot in this area they came across some rather large footprints on the beaches and they thought them to have been made by giants. But, actually, the footprints were made by the Tehuelches leather boots (called “guanaco”) which they wore on their feet. But the rumors persisted and this land of Patagonia gained the reputation of being a “land of giants.”
Tehuelche Chieftains in Patagonia, Argentina
The Tehuelches have lived in the Patagonia area for over 14,500 years. This claim has been verified by archaeological discoveries and research. These people have a nomadic lifestyle so archaeological evidence has been rather scant. They are also hunter-gatherers and they are rather well known for their cave paintings. One thing I find interesting about these people is that they are similar in appearance to the Hopi of northeastern Arizona and other Pueblo people of the American Southwest although taller.
It seems that throughout Patagonia’s history there have been stories or legends of hairy giants and ogres (man-eating giants). Some people have speculated that Patagonia might have been the home of some surviving Homo erectus hominids. This is used by some to explain the many sightings of an alleged Patagonian Bigfoot which has been reported since the time of the Spanish Conquistadors in the region. This explanation is rather interesting because mainstream anthropology says H. erectus was never in the Americas. But, as researcher Austin Whittall of Argentina says there is some controversial evidence that has been found in the area that is ignored by mainstream archaeology yet this evidence suggests humans were in the Americas long before we suspect. In fact, roughly 1/4 of a million years ago! Continue Reading
1877 exaggerated drawing of the Gateway of the Sun by Squier
“Tiahuanaco” is the Spanish spelling for this site and is what I will use in this post. Located in Western Bolivia it was first discovered by the Conquistador Pedro Cieza de Leon who came upon the ruins in 1549 as he was searching for the Inca capital. It’s now believed that Tiahuanaco was inhabited around 1500 BC when it may have been a simple and small farming site. It is also believed that the site became a ceremonial and cosmological center sometime around 300 BC lasting until around 300 AD. Some researchers believe the site was a place of pilgrimage and achieved an important place before the Tiwanaku people began to expand their empire.
It’s most likely that since the fall of the Tiwanaku this site has been looted and destroyed by locals and others. For example the locals took stones from the site to use in their own building and wall construction. The railroad used material from the site to build their railroads. And the military used to use the site for target practice! The result was that no standing buildings survived at the site and all that remains are the foundations that now form the foot of reconstructed walls in modern times! Further, buildings originally at the site appear to have been used for different purposes over time and this explains why there is a mix of artifacts today.
Photo of the Gate of the Sun at Tiahuanaco before it was cemented back together.
Back in the 1960’s the Bolivian government launched an effort to “restore” the site and “reconstruct” at least parts of it. One of these “restorations” involved reconstructing the wall around the temple (Kalasasaya). It is believed that the original wall stones resembled a Stonehenge style meaning the stones stood upright and were evenly spaced apart. The reconstruction of the wall, however, was NOT based on research nor is the modern wall of high quality stonework. Additionally, the famous Gateway of the Sun which is now within the Kalasasaya compound was MOVED there and, thus, is NOT in its original position! Also, the Gateway of the Sun was cemented back together after it was split apparently by an earthquake. Continue Reading
A few days ago Ancient Origins (see link below for story) published an article about a mummified skull of a newborn having been discovered in Peru and that this skull is unusual because it is elongated. So does this prove that the Paracas skulls were born that way and not manipulated as part of some sort of cultural tradition?
The Paracas culture lived in the Andes Mountains of Peru between 800-100 BCE. It appears that they had a rather extensive knowledge in water management and irrigation. This area is the Ica region of Peru and most of our information about the Paracas people comes from excavations at a seaside site on the Paracas Peninsula that was first excavated by Julio Tello a Peruvian archaeologist in the 1920’s.
Most researchers believe that the Paracas engaged in what is known as “artificial cranial deformation” (head flattening, head binding) which results in the elongation of the skull. It is achieved by distorting the growth of a child’s skull by applying force via binding to the young skull. This practice typically begins when the child is an infant as the infant’s skull is pliable and can be rather easily shaped and manipulated. It would begin at birth and continue for about 6 months or so. Most researchers believe that the Paracas Skulls are the result of intention head binding and manipulating the skeleton is more common that you might think. For instance, in China young girls had their feet broken and bound to achieve small feet as they grew older. Some Native America tribes used cradle boards which resulted in the flattening of the back of the skull in an infant. Thus, it would not have been unusual for the Paracas people to have intentionally manipulated the infant skull to achieve an elongated, flattened, rounded, or conical skull shape. Perhaps it was done for religious reasons. Perhaps it was done as a mark of nobility. Perhaps it was done for beauty!
It has been suggested that these skulls are elongated (or otherly shaped) because they are not human skulls at all but alien or alien-human hybrids. Is there evidence to support this assertion? Let’s take a further look at the Paracas Skulls and Paracas Culture. Continue Reading