February 15, 2014
In 1928, in the Paracas desert peninsula, on the south coast of Peru, Peruvian archaeologist, Julio Tello, made an amazing discovery of 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’.
Tello found more than 300 of these elongated skulls, which are believed to date back around 3,000 years. A DNA analysis has now been conducted on one of the skulls and expert Brien Foerster has released preliminary information regarding these enigmatic skulls. Keep in mind that this geneticist was not told the history of these skulls in advance. So he was able to examine them without any preconceived notions. What he found was absolutely shocking:
“Whatever the sample labeled 3A has came from â€“ it had mtDNA with mutations unknown in any human, primate or animal known so far. The data is very sketchy though and a LOT of sequencing still needs to be done to recover the complete mtDNA sequence. But a few fragments I was able to sequence from this sample 3A indicate that if these mutations will hold we are dealing with a new human-like creature, very distant from Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans.”
We’re dealing with nothing less than a newly-discovered species of hominid – this is breaking news!
The implications are of course huge. â€œI am not sure it will even fit into the known evolutionary tree,â€ the geneticist wrote. He added that if the Paracas individuals were so biologically different, they would not have been able to interbreed with humans.
The result of this analysis is only phase one of many phases of analysis due to take place. The next tests will involve having the initial test replicated, and conducted on other skulls, so that the results can be compared to see if there are any specific Paracas characteristics. We will update when more details emerge.
This article was written with contributions by April Holloway.