The Paracas skulls: they’re not aliens (or nephilim)!


Published: 27 April 2014 (GMT+10)
Flickr/ Marcin Tlustochowicz (CC BY 2.0) 9456-paracas-skulls-3

We’ve received a lot of questions about the Paracas skulls in Peru, which look like human skulls, only deformed. However, they are claimed to have DNA unlike any living creature on earth, let alone humans. C.S. from the UK provides a typical example:

“Are you going to make an article on the Paracas skulls from Peru? Do you have any information on them now?
Like are they just humans or apes? It is said their DNA doesn’t match anything on record.
I’m seeing a lot of things about this in forums I frequent and I’d like to have an answer to refute these so called aliens.”

We know that there were humans in Peru at the time of the Paracas skulls. Maybe these people were unusually tall, and their skulls were unusually large, but there is also proof that some genetic diseases which cause unusual skull size. Even among people living today, there are huge variations in human stature (from 4 1/2 feet tall pygmies in Africa to 7+ feet tall basketball players). And skulls can be intentionally deformed, and it is well known that some Mexican and South American cultures did this by placing heavy weights on a child’s soft skull. In other cultures children's skulls were tightly wrapped in bandages to create this appearance. Such practices were often done as a status symbol of sorts. So if we find what look like the distorted skulls of possibly diseased and/or purposefully deformed humans, the logical conclusion is not that “we must have found aliens!”

And this is aside from the unlikelihood of life on other planets and the improbability of making the leap from life to human-like consciousness. Even if life evolved on other planets, travelling to earth would be problematic because it would be impossible to travel the distances involved within normal lifespans.

When we examine the content of the claims, and who is making them, we find lots of reasons to be skeptical of the hype about the skulls. The announcement was not made in a scientific journal, but via the media—the same media that promotes mermaids, Bigfoot, and other sensational claims. Brien Foerster, one of the men who made the announcement, the assistant director of a private museum with no relevant credentials, runs ‘paranormal’ tours in Peru. The geneticist who did the testing wants to be anonymous, at least for now, so his expertise cannot be used to bolster the claim until he is willing to make it public.

And there is reason to be skeptical of the claim that the DNA is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. First of all, why would aliens have DNA? If life evolved elsewhere, what are the chances its information code would look anything like DNA, or produce something as human-like as the skulls?

These DNA claims are similar to the ‘Atacama child’, which we covered in our review of the Sirius documentary. In reality, DNA analysis of the Atacama child revealed that it was human, not alien. Some Christians are also keen to invoke the skulls as pre-Flood nephilim relics. We have a thorough article on this topic called Who were the ‘sons of God’ in Genesis 6? (an extract from Gary Bates's book Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection. Please read this before making comments about this topic.

Christians should be cautious about buying into such sensational claims, especially when the conclusions are anti-biblical in nature.

Readers’ comments

Dennis S.
I have studied the Paracas and Nazcan cultures for around twenty five years. Even excavated tombs in Ica Chinca. The Paracas people were small about five feet and practiced cranial deformation shaping of the skull to look like coneheads. A cradle cranial shaping board was found in a tomb in Paracas. The culture was roughly 500BC to 600AD. I sent mummy tissue to a lab in Dallas and they are 100 percent human. Soon I will be taking tissue samples from a cone head a complete mummy and this will be filmed. The tissue will be sent to a lab and results published, Ive seen many many mummies from Paracas Nazca and ICA. They are all human.
Dr John Leslie
I appreciated Lita Cosner's article on the Paracas skulls, and I agree with what she has said. The facial bones appear very human, and significant deformity of the cranium can be obtained by the methods she mentioned. Even simple cradle boarding as done here in the Southwest US can lead to a very flat occiput (back of skull). If infant, child, and adult skulls were found with the similar deformity it could argue for a genetic malformation. As the bones in the photo appear to be well calcified it argues against a nutritional defect. Finally, a simple review of burials, textiles, and pottery associated with these skulls demonstrates that they were a sophisticated people group. It has nothing to do with so called aliens.
John G Leslie PhD, MD, PhD
Colleen L.
Check with an anthropologist, as I recall people in South America would wrap the child's skulls to produce the shapes seen as a sign of their royalty or status of some sort. I just recall the conversation, I am not conversant in such things. Thanks for your articles!!
Brendan L.
Great article. Given the facts that we know about this, such as that the person who did the DNA tests won't reveal his/her identity, I see no reason to believe that these skulls aren't made of plastic or some other hoax. The photos could even just be photo-shopped for all we know. I think that more research needs to be done to debunk this kind of nonsense.
Anthony T.
there are ways to tell which skulls were formed that way artificially. Cant remember the term used for the 4 or 5 lines in ours skulls from the plates joining together.. but these sculls dont have them. The fake ones still have those lines. I thought that would be important to mention here. Thanks
Lita Cosner
Actually, the skulls have all the sutures human skulls are supposed to have, but due to extreme deformity, some of them are not where they are supposed to be.
D. F.
Nowhere in the original article or data does it state that any of the Paracas were aliens. It does say that they may not have been Homo sapiens.
Lita Cosner
Regardless of what the original data claim, all of the hype about them is based on them being aliens or Nephilim, or some sort of hybrid. So that's what our article addressed, because that's what people have been asking us.
Richard M.
Hi saw in a documentary showing that some of the skull plate patterns were different in some of the skulls shaped like this. By skull plates I mean the seams where the skull formed. Do you know of this?
Lita Cosner
The claim is that the parietal suture is missing--but note the correct term in anatomy is sagittal suture. One source I consulted says that many of the skulls obviously have them; the others still have them, but due to the severe deformity of the skull it isn't where it ought to be, and they were photographed at 'convenient' angles.
PhillipGeorge M.
I think you are largely missing the point most salient to Christian apologists: - is there evidence that some of these skulls could be genuinely anomalous and evidence for some sort of "sons of God"/ Nephilim-human hybrids? If cranial cavity/ capacities are genuinely outliers w.r.t standard deviations from normal and there is no evidence of hydrocephalus, if suture lines are missing or very unusual then one can make a case maybe not for extra terrestrials but biblical "extra-dimensionals". The distinction is very important to make. Are we seeing something a biblical literalist can interpret far better than any naturalist/ materialist; including the SETI sky searching crowd.
Christians should be the last people to knee jerk scoff at the possibility of actual fallen angel human interactions/ giants/ six fingered anti-Christs.
Careful of what you dismiss a priori; lest it be exactly what a Christian should expect to find.
brother in Christ, south of the border
Lita Cosner
If these were Nephilim skulls, they would have to be buried under lots of Flood sediments, because they were all killed in the Flood. And no one thinks these skulls are anywhere near that old. For a refutation of claims of post-Flood Nephilim, see
Paul P.
How disappointing to see CMI take a closed-minded stance against evidence which could potentially bolster the historicity of the Bible. Genesis confirms that angel-human hybrids did exist both before *and after* the flood of Noah. Just read the account. It says "and also afterward". After what? The logical conclusion is that they existed after the flood, and of course the Bible goes on later to even recount episodes of the Israelites coming in contact with giants (Nephilim).

CMI needs to be cautious- just as they recommend for their readership- about being too rash in dismissing evidence just because it doesn't fit with their preconceived notions. If you look at what Brian Forster actually says, you will see he presents good reasons to reject these skulls as being the result of cranial deformation. CMI- stop falling prey to groupthink.
Lita Cosner
Paul, there is an in-depth article that explains what "and also afterward" means in Genesis 6, and also refutes the idea that Israelites enountered Nephilim after the Flood. It is at We specifically asked people to read this before commenting.

We don't dismiss the evidence lightly or without thinking about it. If you had read the other articles we've written on the topic--and which this article linked to--you would understand why we take the stance we do, even if you continue to disagree. Simply disagreeing with your position does not mean we've fallen prey to 'groupthink'.
John W.
Hi Lita, I read your article with enthusiasm as I had knowlege of the Paracas skulls, but no response. I also read Gary's article on the Sirius documentary. If evolutionist's proposal is that both aliens and humans originated via the big bang/evolution, this creates an enormous problem on how they are both possible from the same origin besides many other controversies?! If they claim that we were somehow "created" by aliens then they deny their "pond scum" theory for the origin of life! It would also be interesting to know how they suppose alien spacecraft arrived here in the first place, because alien "sightings" are only observed on and around earth?! Spacecraft leaving earth is "observable" and therefore the reciprocal alien craft should also be observable travelling through space?! Also, if aliens are so advanced why would they look like deformed humanoids? If they existed before humans then that turns evolution backwards?! Lots of questions, no evolutionary answers! Great article! Keep up the good work!

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