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Still Waters

Can DNA solve the mystery of pointy skulls?

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OverSword
On 8/22/2019 at 12:17 PM, Helen of Annoy said:

So the question remains why would people, in seemingly not connected cultures, come up with pretty radical idea to deliberately deform skulls of their children. 

Because great ideas are contagious :D

could you imagine if there were a revival of this practice?

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onlookerofmayhem
7 minutes ago, OverSword said:

@onlookerofmayhem do you understand humor?

No.

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Thanos5150
3 hours ago, Swede said:

Trinkaus (1982) documented the cranial deformation of Neandertal recoveries (Shanidar 1 and 5, Iraq). These recoveries are dated to 45 kya.

.

No.

The Neanderthal cranial remains were newly reconstructed in 1999 by the anthropology team of Chech, Grove, Thorne, and Trinkaus, in which they discovered the original reconstruction of the skull was in error resulting in the conclusion "we no longer consider that artificial cranial deformation can be inferred for the specimen"

A New Reconstruction of the Shanidar 5 Cranium

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XenoFish
25 minutes ago, OverSword said:

Because great ideas are contagious :D

could you imagine if there were a revival of this practice?

In addition to all the other body modifications out there? Please, just no.

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jmccr8
Thanos5150
1 hour ago, Thanos5150 said:

No.

The Neanderthal cranial remains were newly reconstructed in 1999 by the anthropology team of Chech, Grove, Thorne, and Trinkaus, in which they discovered the original reconstruction of the skull was in error resulting in the conclusion "we no longer consider that artificial cranial deformation can be inferred for the specimen"

A New Reconstruction of the Shanidar 5 Cranium

A recent update to my earlier remarks you responded to I forgot to include:]

12,000 years old elongated skulls found in northeastern China

Researchers in China find some of the oldest examples of cranial modification

Paper

15639388-7213295-image-a-25_156225746309

Jilin province borders North Korea and Russia. 

The skeletons were all in a vertically shaped tomb, and there were no obvious gender biases for cranial modification. Twenty-five skeletons were found in all, 11 of which had evidence of intentional cranial modification. Four of the skulls were from adult males, one was from an adult female, and the rest were from children. The bones were not placed in the tomb at the same time, however, they were interred over the course of 7,000 years, from 12,000 to 5,000 years ago.

The researchers report that there was very little evidence that might provide an explanation for the binding of babies' heads, but suggest it likely was an indicator of wealth or high status. Some of the skeletons were buried with artifacts that suggested as much, such as pottery.

25 skeletons were discovered dating from 10,000-3,000BC. 11 displayed various levels of elongation. 

China-skulls-01.jpg

The skull on the left dates from 10,000BC, the right 3,000BC: 

China-skulls-02.jpg

China-skulls-03b.jpg

Unfortunately elongated skulls are by default more often than not accepted to be "artificially" formed with otherwise no evidence to support the claim. I need to read the full paper, but this is a paradigm that will change.


[emphasis mine]

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Sir Wearer of Hats
3 hours ago, OverSword said:

Because great ideas are contagious :D

could you imagine if there were a revival of this practice?

Sounds dreadful. 

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The Wistman
Posted (edited)

More data.

(March 2018)  DNA results of @500 CE elongated Bulgarian female skulls in Bavaria gives rise to (disputed) theory of their presentation as political treaty brides:

Quote

The remains, which date to about 500 C.E., are part of a pattern of elongated skulls found in gravesites across early and medieval Europe and Asia. The Bavarian skulls were unearthed alongside regularly shaped ones near six modern southern German towns along the Danube River starting in the late 1960s. Few clues exist as to their identities, or how and why the skulls were stretched. Curious about the “tower-shaped” skulls, anthropologist and population geneticist Joachim Burger, from Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, set out to sequence their DNA.

Burger and colleagues compared the DNA from tiny bone fragments in the graves with each other and those of modern populations throughout Europe and Asia. The DNA of 10 men—and 13 women with normal skulls—most closely matched modern populations in central and northern Europe. Most had genes for blond hair and blue eyes. But DNA from the 13 women with elongated skulls told a different tale. The genetics of these women matched modern populations in southeastern Europe, specifically Bulgaria and Romania, and they had genes for darker hair and eyes, the researchers report today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/03/strange-elongated-skulls-reveal-bulgarian-treaty-brides-ancient-germany

 

(May 6, 2019)  Paracas skulls DNA tested second time, reveals earthly origin:

Quote

When a geneticist carried out preliminary DNA testing of the elongated skulls of Paracas in Peru, the results changed the known history about how the Americas were published. The testing revealed that the Paracas have mitochondrial DNA “with mutations unknown in any human, primate, or animal known so far.” Now, a second testing has revealed that the skulls have both European and Middle Eastern Origin.

Quote

“It rewrites history as we know it,” Marzulli said. “If these results hold, the history of the migration of people to the Americas is far more complex than we have been told previously.”

If the results are officially confirmed through further tests, it means that people from Europe and the Middle East migrated to the Americans significantly earlier than it was originally believed. The results also explain the fact that many of the Paracas skulls still contain traces of red hair, a color that originates in the Middle East and Europe.

http://sciencevibe.com/2019/05/06/paracas-skulls-shocker-dna-reveals-this-is-genetic-not-cranial-deformation-or-aliens/

Edited by The Wistman
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Harte

Second quote from L.A. Marzulli, pseudohistorian and fringe author.

IOW, bull****.

Harte

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Hanslune
Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Harte said:

Second quote from L.A. Marzulli, pseudohistorian and fringe author.

IOW, bull****.

Harte

He's just using the 'old' fringe DNA trick of looking at where a Haplogroup originated tens of thousands of years ago then pronouncing the person came from their DIRECTLY and recently. AFAWK everyone is from Africa.

1920px-Early_migrations_mercator.svg.png

So yeah BS.

Edited by Hanslune
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The Wistman

Some interesting notes on Dr. Vera Tiesler and her research into Mayan head shaping (as well as other Mayan practices) :

Quote

[...]  Archaeologists who study the Maya assumed that the practice had something to do with religion, but knew little more than that.

Tiesler noticed that certain regions tended to have specific head styles. After looking at a few hundred skulls, she found that people during the Classic period (250–900) along the coast of today’s Veracruz had a vertical, pear-shaped style, those in the lowlands had a sloping, tubular style, and those along the coast of the Caribbean Sea had wide, flat heads. Over time, that shape became popular, and dominated the late Classic period1.

By looking at drawings and carvings from the time and comparing them to skull shapes, she deduced that head styles follow matrilineal traditions: children tend to have the mother’s style. She, along with others, found a possible reason, based on Maya traditions in colonial times. The ancient Maya saw babies as not-yet human, and at risk of losing their essence through a few points in their skulls, she says. By shaping the head, the Maya kept the essence in place2.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00517-y

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Swede
18 hours ago, Thanos5150 said:

No.

The Neanderthal cranial remains were newly reconstructed in 1999 by the anthropology team of Chech, Grove, Thorne, and Trinkaus, in which they discovered the original reconstruction of the skull was in error resulting in the conclusion "we no longer consider that artificial cranial deformation can be inferred for the specimen"

A New Reconstruction of the Shanidar 5 Cranium

Thanks for the update. Was not aware of the revised evaluation.

.

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Piney
6 hours ago, The Wistman said:
Quote

If the results are officially confirmed through further tests, it means that people from Europe and the Middle East migrated to the Americans significantly earlier than it was originally believed. The results also explain the fact that many of the Paracas skulls still contain traces of red hair, a color that originates in the Middle East and Europe.

 

 

6 hours ago, Harte said:

Second quote from L.A. Marzulli, pseudohistorian and fringe author.

IOW, bull****.

Harte

Racist bull****.

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Thanos5150
5 hours ago, Swede said:

Thanks for the update. Was not aware of the revised evaluation.

.

No worries. 

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Pettytalk
On 8/24/2019 at 8:23 AM, Helen of Annoy said:

I'm trying to remember these people have serious emotional issues, so their rude behaviour is not something they can control, without professional help. 

That is a swell statement, Helen!

There is certainly no mystery behind the elongated "brains" found in this place, and there is no need for further "digs." You have nailed it. Emotional disease is responsible for the swelling.

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Helen of Annoy
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Pettytalk said:

That is a swell statement, Helen!

There is certainly no mystery behind the elongated "brains" found in this place, and there is no need for further "digs." You have nailed it. Emotional disease is responsible for the swelling.

 

I'm not the one who chronically visits a site dedicated to the unexplained, only to aggressively claim everything is explained, rudely and personally attacking anyone who isn't a member of their gang - which is what happened to me in this thread. I was mocked for my opinion, which is also the official stance of actual archaeologists, that the elongated skulls are a subject very far from exhausted.    

I do not waste untold hours of my time on a site that is by definition something I don't accept. I do not take part in gangs who attack people perceived as different. 

 

That's exactly what the 'sceptic' gang is doing and it's the reason why I don't usually take any part in the actual threads. It's just too repulsive and counterproductive. 

I do not mind when an actually scientific actual explanation is offered, I do mind when emotionally crippled people cruise around UM in gangs and disparage anyone who doesn't kiss their arrogant asses. And since the medical science has proven that excessive arrogance is actually the consequence of low self-esteem, I will use this opportunity to advise them to talk to their physicians about their need to attack people they perceive as vulnerable, due to their stepping outside that, what the packs of aggressive trolls mistake for scientific truth.   

 

The reason why I reacted to that disgusting practice in this particular thread is that the thread was very obviously absolutely within the scientific approach and still the chronic trolls appeared with their run-of-the-mill insults, demanding their daily fix of superiority. Accidentally ****ting on the fact that actual scientists do not consider the elongated skulls 'explained', not even in the part which of those where natural genetic trait, which disorder and which were in fact artificially modified. Without even noticing they accidentally went against science in their quasi-scientific fervor.   

 

Now, stay on topic and do not attempt again to bully me - if you have a problem with this advice you really, seriously, should go see a therapist.   

 

 

The elongated skulls are medical and archaeological fact.   

I'm in agreement with the majority of scientific community when I think the elongated skulls in archaeology are to be explored further.

They were not 'explained' in the sense there's nothing to ask, they were only 'explained' in the part that these are not alien skulls. It wasn't even determined if the elongation was genetic or artificial in many cases. 

Personally, I'm puzzled the most with the fact that findings are present practically world-wide. The practice is just too radical - unlike, say, piercing or tattooing - so the pure status symbol without deeper meaning doesn't sound like satisfactory explanation for the appearance of the practice, especially if it developed independently in so many various locations. 

Why was a 'long' head a sign of nobility among so many apparently Asian tribes, successfully spreading among them, but not taking root among European tribes? Was it only a matter of beauty concept or it had spiritual meaning? Etc.  

 

Edited by Helen of Annoy
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Pettytalk
1 hour ago, Helen of Annoy said:

Now, stay on topic and do not attempt again to bully me - if you have a problem with this advice you really, seriously, should go see a therapist.   

My therapist told me to never try to "help" or "support" anyone unless they ask for it. Further, she said, especially when it comes to helping wounded animals, as they do not understand you are trying to help them, since more likely than not you are going to cause them more pain in the process.

Elongated skulls are exceptionally few in numbers when taken in comparison to the whole population. Most likely a birth defect....meaning that some births are forced births when full and normal dilation is not reached, and the newborn's cranium is easily deformed, due to the too tight and narrow passage in coming to the light of this world. And any and all speculative other motives are just elongated and deformed opinions. It's rather obvious that in nature not all is quite uniform, and some exceptions occur.

And my idea on forced deformities due to narrowness and tight fit, are not without other natural supportive data. I'm an amateur mycologist, and I have foraged for wild mushrooms on three different continents. And I have seen some really strange and much deformed shapes which some mushrooms take on and are much varied from their typical and standard shapes. And in just about all the cases of deformity that I have seen, were due to tight spaces surrounding their point of growth. And for which the lack of sufficient room prevented the specimens from expanding into their standard shapes. I have also often noted the phenomenon with fruit on trees, where a fruit, a lemon in this case, was growing in between very narrow forked branches. 

Can a human skull be forced to form in an unnatural shape? Yes, if sufficient force is applied and maintained for long periods of time, especially as in the growth process.

Just an example of an elongated, deformed sour lemon.

LemonCurd (15).JPG

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Helen of Annoy
2 hours ago, Pettytalk said:

My therapist told me to never try to "help" or "support" anyone unless they ask for it. Further, she said, especially when it comes to helping wounded animals, as they do not understand you are trying to help them, since more likely than not you are going to cause them more pain in the process.

I apologise for my stupidity. 

This is one of the rare days when realising I was so stupid made me happy.

Throw a blanket over me the next time, it's legitimate veterinarian advice and it works. Also, I promise to stop and think a little better as soon as I see the blanket.   

 

2 hours ago, Pettytalk said:

Elongated skulls are exceptionally few in numbers when taken in comparison to the whole population. Most likely a birth defect....meaning that some births are forced births when full and normal dilation is not reached, and the newborn's cranium is easily deformed, due to the too tight and narrow passage in coming to the light of this world. And any and all speculative other motives are just elongated and deformed opinions. It's rather obvious that in nature not all is quite uniform, and some exceptions occur.

And my idea on forced deformities due to narrowness and tight fit, are not without other natural supportive data. I'm an amateur mycologist, and I have foraged for wild mushrooms on three different continents. And I have seen some really strange and much deformed shapes which some mushrooms take on and are much varied from their typical and standard shapes. And in just about all the cases of deformity that I have seen, were due to tight spaces surrounding their point of growth. And for which the lack of sufficient room prevented the specimens from expanding into their standard shapes. I have also often noted the phenomenon with fruit on trees, where a fruit, a lemon in this case, was growing in between very narrow forked branches. 

Can a human skull be forced to form in an unnatural shape? Yes, if sufficient force is applied and maintained for long periods of time, especially as in the growth process.

Just an example of an elongated, deformed sour lemon.

LemonCurd (15).JPG

Oh, a mycologist! Fungi are truly fascinating. Especially the fact that the mushroom we see above the ground is just a part of the whole fungus.

 

 

Don't get me wrong, I do understand the analogy, it's working, but there are certain differences between citruses and humans.

Undoubtedly, human skull can look different and still be perfectly healthy, or it can look different because there were abnormalities in the process of its growth. Human skull also can in fact be deformed artificially, by binding baby's developing head, as it was the case with many of the skulls in the examples we can see in this thread.

None of these options is questionable. The question is – for each particular case – is the seemingly unusual shape still normal, or genetic deformity, or artificial modification. Then, naturally, there is the question why was modification practiced, what was the origin of the practice, what exactly it meant for each tribe and so on.

It's not only interesting on its own, but it also offers clues for completing or even correcting our understanding of history. In the particular case from the OP, it sheds more light to the great migrations in 5th-6th century. Actually, it added more confusion so far, but that's how the process goes.

 

I say it added more confusion, because the DNA of three bodies found in the same grave were more diverse than expected. Each genome with own skull shape, in the sense of two distinct styles of deformation and one without intervention.

 

Some archaeologists suggest the possibility the bodies belonged to the boys who were sacrificed, though they didn't offer explanation which tribe was practicing such rituals in this area in that particular period.

I like @Piney's suggestion they could've been adopted, but, of course, we can't really know if that was the case, at least not without more evidence that would tell us more about lives of people in the area in that period.

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MissJatti

Are my eyes deceiving me.

I see elongated skulls in the link..... Not pointy skulls.

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Helen of Annoy
5 minutes ago, MissJatti said:

Are my eyes deceiving me.

I see elongated skulls in the link..... Not pointy skulls.

Don't nitpick now :D 

 

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The Wistman
3 hours ago, Pettytalk said:

My therapist told me to never try to "help" or "support" anyone unless they ask for it. Further, she said, especially when it comes to helping wounded animals, as they do not understand you are trying to help them, since more likely than not you are going to cause them more pain in the process.

What?  Now @Pettytalk, I must respond to this overarching advice.  What if someone cannot ask?  What if someone is too proud to ask?  What if someone is in extremis, yet needs help?  Just ignore them?  Don't even bother trying?  And we should not help wild animals when they are wounded?  Only when they are healthy?  Of course there is certain risk to you and to them, and one must be very cautious and intelligent, maybe call for help...but that is so in many endeavors, altruistic or not.  Have you ever helped a wild animal that was wounded?  I have.  And I have zero regrets about doing so.  (No they weren't grizzly bears or mountain lions.)  I'm not sure these proscriptions apply neatly to the activities on this forum, with all due respect.

 

21 minutes ago, Helen of Annoy said:

I apologise for my stupidity. 

This is one of the rare days when realising I was so stupid made me happy.

Throw a blanket over me the next time, it's legitimate veterinarian advice and it works. Also, I promise to stop and think a little better as soon as I see the blanket.   

 

Oh, a mycologist! Fungi are truly fascinating. Especially the fact that the mushroom we see above the ground is just a part of the whole fungus.

 

 

Don't get me wrong, I do understand the analogy, it's working, but there are certain differences between citruses and humans.

Undoubtedly, human skull can look different and still be perfectly healthy, or it can look different because there were abnormalities in the process of its growth. Human skull also can in fact be deformed artificially, by binding baby's developing head, as it was the case with many of the skulls in the examples we can see in this thread.

None of these options is questionable. The question is – for each particular case – is the seemingly unusual shape still normal, or genetic deformity, or artificial modification. Then, naturally, there is the question why was modification practiced, what was the origin of the practice, what exactly it meant for each tribe and so on.

It's not only interesting on its own, but it also offers clues for completing or even correcting our understanding of history. In the particular case from the OP, it sheds more light to the great migrations in 5th-6th century. Actually, it added more confusion so far, but that's how the process goes.

 

I say it added more confusion, because the DNA of three bodies found in the same grave were more diverse than expected. Each genome with own skull shape, in the sense of two distinct styles of deformation and one without intervention.

 

Some archaeologists suggest the possibility the bodies belonged to the boys who were sacrificed, though they didn't offer explanation which tribe was practicing such rituals in this area in that particular period.

I like @Piney's suggestion they could've been adopted, but, of course, we can't really know if that was the case, at least not without more evidence that would tell us more about lives of people in the area in that period.

The enduring question is the one you posit I think...what is the originating model for this practice that so many cultures performed on their (elite?) infants, or was there a socio-religious impulse that had ubiquitous, transcontinental appeal?  What other body modification styles were as widespread as this one?  Ear piercing...?  Was it something actual that they saw in nature that they wanted to infuse into their culture (as with insects or horned mammals, etc.); or is there, say, a spiritual or archetypal origination that arises automatically in discrete 'primitive' societies, or was it simply a method of conferring elite status?    High crowns and headgear are ubiquitous across cultures and exist to this day (observe the Pope's mitre and crown, and his bishops'), or the White Crown of Ancient Egypt.  Was the deformation simply a status exemplar, or was it, as apparently it was with the Mayans, a metaphysical prescription or expression.

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Hanslune
On 8/24/2019 at 5:53 PM, OverSword said:

Because great ideas are contagious :D

 

....but stupid ideas are particularly pungent and spread even faster and are harder to get rid of!

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Pettytalk
12 minutes ago, The Wistman said:

What?  Now @Pettytalk, I must respond to this overarching advice.  What if someone cannot ask?  What if someone is too proud to ask?  What if someone is in extremis, yet needs help?  Just ignore them?  Don't even bother trying?  And we should not help wild animals when they are wounded?  Only when they are healthy?  Of course there is certain risk to you and to them, and one must be very cautious and intelligent, maybe call for help...but that is so in many endeavors, altruistic or not.  Have you ever helped a wild animal that was wounded?  I have.  And I have zero regrets about doing so.  (No they weren't grizzly bears or mountain lions.)  I'm not sure these proscriptions apply neatly to the activities on this forum, with all due respect.

She got the point I was making, as it was all meant just to make the point clear. In the past I have gone to the rescue of some who never asked, or could not ask, trying to help them, and animals among them too. And if I cannot help them by interacting physically, then I try to warn them, as a general rule. Most of the pets my family and I have had are all rescued animals, either from the streets or from the animal shelters. A couple of times I have placed my life in peril trying to quickly swerve to avoid hitting animals on the road while I was driving, etc.

I would have imagined that you, Wistman, knowing a little about me, knew of my efforts to help many understand. And where not only have they not asked for it, but actually throw stones back at me for persisting with my repetitive attempts to help them understand. And if they would only allow me, they would be spared some unnecessary, and unexpected pain in the future. Those are like wounded animals (wounded ego) that mentally feel pain whenever I try to help them rid their prejudice thoughts, to better understand the truth through my own helpful thoughts.

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