Why did some ancient civilizations have elongated skulls?
Typically one applied some sort of force on the skulls of infants, for instance between two plates of wood, or through binding in cloth.
The results were remarkable.
Elongated skulls have spiked the making of theories about aliens and the like, for pretty obvious reasons. Some controversial studies have appeared, claiming that DNA-research on the famous Paracas skulls points towards completely unknown human-like beings, but those studies have been contested.
Needless to say, the stories frequented on UFO conspiracy websites (since about 2014) but certainly not in proper scientific venues.
Other more religious-oriented minds claimed that the Paracas skulls actually belong to “nephilim” — Biblical creatures that were the offspring of gods and human women, according to Genesis.
Anyway. The real reasons why cranial deformation was performed are not entirely clear, but most probably it signified social status:
One modern theory is cranial deformation was likely performed to signify group affiliation, or to demonstrate social status. Such motivations may have played a key role in Maya society, aimed at creating a skull shape that is aesthetically more pleasing or associated with desirable cultural attributes.
Still, if I understand correctly, it might be true that some of the Paracas skulls that were investigated on the level of DNA really showed a number of (human) abnormalities, so that further scientific investigation would be valuable.
But the alien thesis is easily killed with one single anthropological deathblow, as the culture of cranial deformation is not a unique feature of the Paracas culture at all — it happened throughout the world, and not even that long ago in some places, as the following picture on “Toulouse deformation” from the 19th century indicates.
And I must admit I was pretty surprised when I read about Toulouse, and saw the pictures.
REFERENCES: Google images, Wikipedia and the sites quoted in the body of the text.
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