The “Starchild skull”, a real enough skull, is claimed to be physical evidence for a dead alien (or alien/human hybrid) right here on earth. Unfortunately, like so many of these objects that are supposed to derive from elsewhere in the cosmos, it is treated as private property and access to it for testing is tightly controlled. No independent scientific reports on it have ever been published and there are suspicions that data that demonstrates that it is human has been suppressed. Yet it has a very vocal community of supporters who tout it as proof of extraterrestrial contact (or a variety of other equally outlandish claims). The problems with the skull go way beyond simple data collection, analysis and interpretation: there are important ethical issues about the way in which the remains of a child – whether are human or alien – are being used for commercial gain…
The skull is supposed to have been discovered in the 1930s by an American girl from El Paso (Texas, USA) in an abandoned mine near Copper Canyon in Mexico, about 160 km south-west of Chihuahua. According to its current “owners”, the discovered died in the early 1990s and it did not come into their possession until 1998, so information about its discovery is third hand, at best (it should be obvious that the discoverer cannot have given an account directly to its current “owners” after her death). Nevertheless, it is said to have been discovered with the complete skeleton of an adult that lay exposed on the floor of the mine. The skeleton to which this skull belongs was covered by a small mound of earth, leaving only an arm and hand projecting from it; the child’s hand was clutching the upper arm of the adult. Although the girl tried to recover both skeletons, a flash flood washed away most of the remains and all she could take home were the two skulls.
The skulls were given to Ray and Melanie Young in 1998; Melanie is a neonatal nurse and was convinced that the shape of the child’s skull could no be the result of ordinary human deformities. To try to find out more about it, they approached the author Lloyd Pye, although it is not clear why they sought his assistance in examining the skulls rather than an archaeologist or palaeopathologist. He had published Everything you know is wrong, book 1: human origins in 1997, which promotes the ideas of Zechariah Sitchin about the alien origins of humanity, using tendentiously wrong translations of Sumerian texts as his principal evidence. This makes the choice of Lloyd Pye as someone to research the remains look as if the Youngs had already formed an idea about the nature of the child’s skull. Pye and the Youngs founded The Starchild Project early in 1999, when Lloyd Pye became the “caretaker” of the child’s skull. Since then, all access to the remains has been controlled by Pye who, by 2010, had engaged the services of his own geneticist for reasons that will become apparent. The Project has promoted the skull, principally to UFO and New Age groups, among which the term “star child” is used to refer to alleged human/alien hybrids or to “the next stage in human evolution”.
What about the “strange red fibers interwoven inside the actual bone matter of the skull”?
Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:
Alien, or child with hydrocephalus?
…. If a child suffered from untreated hydrocephalus until age four or five, their skull would display distortions in almost every feature. All of the proper bones, prominences, holes, and sutures would be present, as they are in the Starchild skull, but they would be deformed and displaced. This is exactly what we find in the Starchild skull. Hydrocephalus builds up over time, so a child with this disorder could survive several years, and if untreated (today hydrocephalus is treatable with surgery to drain the fluid) would probably die at several years of age. The resulting large bulbous head would be vaguely reminiscent of the typical image of a gray alien.
The authors virtually ignore this mundane explanation, and dismiss it on unsound grounds. They also go to great lengths to interpret the skull in line with their clearly preferred hypothesis. They therefore demonstrate the central feature of pseudoscience.
What about their confident prediction that DNA testing will prove the child was alien? Well, a DNA sample was taken from the skull, and was subjected to DNA probes designed to detect sequences of DNA which are unique to humans (performed by Dr. David Sweet, Director of the Bureau of Legal Dentistry at the University of British Columbia). The Starchild skull DNA was found to contain both an X and a Y chromosome. This is conclusive evidence that the child was not only human (and male), but both of his parents must have been human as well, for each must have contributed one of the human sex chromosomes.
In view of such evidence, Pye and Bean can reasonably be expected to abandon their alien hypothesis, if they were genuine scientists. However, their website continues to support an alien interpretation of the Starchild, and this is what they have to say about the DNA evidence:
“Another ‘far out’ concept that must be considered is the reasonable assumption that an alien-human hybrid could have both human DNA and alien ‘genetic’ instructions melded in its/his/her makeup, with both sets of instructions being active and complimentary and cooperative. In addition, both might be constructed in entirely different ways, with DNA being the basis of human genetic structure and ??? (silicone base, nanotechnology, etc.) being the basis of alien structure. Taking that a step further, both DNA and ??? could be present as full sets–the entirety of human DNA and the entirety of the alien ‘genetic’ code, whatever it would be- to have both sets available for reference and/or repair.”
Pye and Bean have performed the classic pseudoscientific maneuver of retreating in the face of disconfirming evidence to a more bizarre and untestable version of their desired hypothesis. If a full compliment of human DNA is present, then all tests for humanity will be positive. The unknown alien component may likewise never be detectable. Pye and Bean have now insulated themselves from ever having to abandon their desired hypothesis. …
via The Starchild Project: Anatomy of a Pseudoscience -NEJS vol3 issue1.
Image: Baby with Hydrocephalus
Babies may also develop hydrocephalus when they are born. The two common causes of this are a bleed in the brain or an infection that goes into the brain. Babies that develop hydrocephalus often develop a large head, the soft spot becomes hard and bulges, the veins in the head stand out, and the eyes drop down and you can’t see them much. – link
Paranormal researcher Lloyd Pye, the owner of the skull, says he obtained the skull from Ray and Melanie Young of El Paso, Texas, in February 1999. … Pye claims that the skull is the hybrid offspring of an extraterrestrial and a human female. ….
Neurologist Steven Novella of Yale University Medical School says the cranium exhibits all of the characteristics of a child who has died as a result of congenital hydrocephalus, and the cranial deformations were the result of accumulations of cerebrospinal fluid within the skull.
Hydrocephalus can be congenital, when the condition exists at birth e.g. Spina Bifida, craniosynostosis syndromes etc, or acquired, when it occurs as the result of a head trauma, infection such as Meningitis, tumors or cysts after birth.
There are 4 types of hydrocephalus:
1) Noncommunicating or Obstructive hydrocephalus
There is an obstruction in the flow of CSF within the normal pathway.
2) Communicating or Non-obstructive hydrocephalus
There is no block in the flow of CSF, but the CSF is not absorbed properly back into the bloodstream.
3) Normal pressure hydrocephalus
Usually occurs in older age groups and is due to a lack of properly functioning brain structures.
4) Secondary hydrocephalus
Usually results from an infection (such as meningitis) or a severe head injury.
Sorry for the horrific photo, but it is important to see if you believe the Starchild skull is alien. This, along with the human DNA seems like good evidence that hydrocephaly is a realistic explanation that could result in an “alien looking” skull.
Above, left, the skeleton shown by the Estevanovics in 2004. And at right, photo taken by Alexandre Araújo in 1995 of a piece that was part of the Estácio de Lima Anthropological Museum, in the building of the Nina Rodrigues Legal Medicine Institute in Salvador.
“It was a child with hydrocephalus, palatine fissure and curved feet. The interesting thing is that the piece started to deteriorate, as the embalming process was not so efficient. It was already decomposing when it was removed from exhibition. It was around this time  that I photographed it. Then, in another visit to the museum in 1998, I was told that the child with hydrocephalus was ‘discarded’ because it was heavily damaged”, Araújo wrote us. …
oth ufologists and the media, as well as the Estevanovics, conceded that the case was possibly a series of malformations, but often contradicted themselves claiming there was evidence to the contrary and insistently suggesting that it could be an alien. Our denials of such irresponsible speculations were condemned as “close-minded” and as even evidence of laziness and the inertia of orthodox science.
We emphasized how “the reasonable and ethical thing to do would be to analyze the skeleton, sure, but public statements must deny any sort of speculation. The chances and moral consequences in case this involves the careless exploitation of human suffering far surpasses the remote possibility that this could be something else.”
Such considerations fell in deaf ears around here. You can read how a local UFO magazine publicized the case in English worldwide here: Skeleton In Brazilian Museum Might Be Alien.
Examples of human deformities are not seldom preserved and shown in museums to medical students and sometimes to the general public for educational purposes. But the educational purposes of exhibiting this skeleton to children, with insistent claims that it’s mysterious and could even be alien are more than questionable.
We contacted Wellington Estevanovic and confronted him with this new information. Estevanovic denied emphatically having ever claimed that the skeleton was extraterrestrial, said he still doesn’t know where it came from, and blamed the ufologists for exploiting the case.
Fact is, all those who claim these remains belonged to an alien being are incurring in a crime according to Brazilian law: vilifying a corpse.
The image of the decomposing child, with ears, hair and half-open eyes must haunt all those who would rather believe it was a blue smurf alien without ears. Not only this poor child died prematurely, some people put their own beliefs first and are not afraid to claim he or she was not human.
It is our hope that the non-blue, real face will end all the inconsequential speculations about it. Sadly, this is not the only case of its kind. The most famous worldwide is the “Starchild skull”, but Mexican researcher Luis Ruiz Noguez points lots of others here (in Spanish).
Not even children alive are safe from such insensitive craziness. As Noguez writes, “among all photos of alleged aliens, the worst are those that present children with several kinds of deformities.”
At this point you might conclude that Pye is despicably exploiting the remains of an unfortunate human child, but take a look at his rebuttal:
Potential explanations for the skull’s unusual features include the use of cradle boarding on a hydrocephalic child, brachycephaly, Crouzon syndrome, congenital hydrocephalus, or potentially progeria.
All of these deformities and many others have been investigated as possible explanations for the Starchild Skull, and none of them match the attributes of the skull (The Starchild Project, 2010b).
Cradleboarding and all other artificial deformation techniques leave evidence on the surface of the skull bone, and no such evidence is present on the surface of the Starchild Skull. Thus, Dr. Robinson (2004) concluded that “the extreme flattening of the skull was caused by its natural growth pattern and is not artificial.”
Hydrocephaly (also called “congenital hydrocephalus”) is a condition where excess cerebrospinal fluid in the cranium causes internal pressure that pushes outward against the skull, expanding any unfused sutures to give the skull an “inflated” shape (MedicineNet, 2010).
According to Dr. Bachynsky and Dr. Robinson (cited in Robinson, 2004) the sutures in the Starchild Skull were unfused and healthy at the time of death, with no expansion present at the suture lines. Thus, the Starchild’s unusual shape could not have been caused by internal pressure or the sutures would be expanded. Dr. Bachynsky specifically ruled out hydrocephaly in his examination of the skull (Robinson, 2004).
Brachycephaly simply means a skull that is abnormally wide, and is a possible symptom of multiple illnesses, deformities, and disorders. Therefore, it isn’t any kind of explanation for morphology; it is only an observation of a physical trait (Kelly, 2010).
Crouzon Syndrome is a condition where symptoms include the complete premature fusion (obliteration) of two or more cranial sutures (Matusiak & Szybejko-Machaj, 2010). In 2003 Dr. Bachynsky, a radiological expert, concluded unequivocally that there was no abnormal or premature fusion of any of the Starchild Skull’s sutures (as cited in Robinson, 2004). Therefore, Crouzon Syndrome is impossible as an explanation. Progeria (also called Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome) is a fatal condition that causes the appearance of premature aging in children (Progeria Research Foundation, 2010).
In Progeria, bones can become thinner and weaker, and premature fusion of sutures can cause abnormal skull shape, which in turn gives the lower face and eyes an unusual appearance (Medline Plus, 2010). One of the primary symptoms of Progeria is open fontanelles on the top of the head, the “soft spot” on a baby’s head (UM Medical, 2010). This condition is not present in the Starchild Skull (Robinson, 2003). … Progeria does not remove the inion, change the location of the optic foramens, change the shape of the hardest sections of bone while leaving the weak sutures untouched, or increase the collagen content of bone (UM Medical, 2010), all features of the Starchild Skull (Pye 2010b). The only symptom that Progeria has in common with the Starchild Skull is “micrognathia,” an abnormally small jaw (UM Medical, 2010), leaving all of the other unusual features of the Starchild unexplained, and making Progeria a thoroughly incorrect diagnosis.
Crouzon Syndrome has nothing to do with Hydrocephaly, apart from both resulting in deformities of the skull. Crouzon can occur at the same time as Hydrocephaly, but that is not typical. When Pye says, “the sutures in the Starchild Skull were unfused and healthy at the time of death” that is to be expected and would occur in a child with Hydrocephaly without Crouzon Syndrome.
The skull bones begin to grow together when children are about 2 or 3 years old, but the process is not fully complete until adulthood. – link
The key assertion that there was, “no expansion present at the suture lines” is hard to understand. The skull bones begin to grow together at 2 or 3 years old and the Star Child skull was determined to be from an individual 4.5 to 5 years old, so you would expect the sutures to be closing or closed, even with internal pressure. Over the years, the skull adapts.
Anyway, the Coronal suture is clearly still separated in this photo of the star child skull, so how can he claim that there is expansion at the suture lines?
Absent further convincing details from an expert who can tell me that a 5-year-old with hydrocephaly would have bigger gaps in the suture lines than this, I’m back in the camp that believes this is despicable exploitation.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not out to disprove aliens have visited the earth. I think they have, but due to the vast distances and radiation hazards in space, I believe they have come in billions of microscopic ships. I side with the theory of panspermia, that life on earth was seeded by microbes from space. Evidence for this includes the facts that bacteria can live in space, can survive radiation, and can hibernate for 250 million of years then revive when conditions are right. They could travel in comets where there is food, water and heat from radioactive aluminum. I think we are all the offspring of aliens.
Some say the formation of the solar system was triggered by shock waves that emanated from the explosion of a nearby supernova. The supernova injected radioactive material such as Aluminium-26 into the primordial solar system and some became incorporated in the comets.
Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe together with Drs Janaki Wickramasinghe and Max Wallis claim that the heat emitted from radioactivity warms initially frozen material of comets to produce subsurface oceans that persist in a liquid condition for a million years.
Professor Wickramasinghe says, “These calculations, which are more exhaustive than any done before, leaves little doubt that a large fraction of the 100 billion comets in our solar system did indeed have liquid interiors in the past.
Bottom line, I believe this is an alien skull… and so is yours.