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Strange Elongated Skulls
June 21, 2009 10:58 PM   Subscribe

Strange Elongated Skulls have popped up everywhere from Russia, to Europe, to South America. The most likely explanation is that it is a form of head binding.

But others suspect they are the skulls of aliens (many have commented how large the eyes look on many of the skulls). Decide for yourself. Strange Elongated Skulls Discovered [YouTube] Elongated Skulls exhibited in the Incan Museum [YouTube]
posted by banished (42 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
There's no reason to make this an EITHER-OR. It's certainly possible that aliens forced people to elongate their skulls.

Oh, go ahead and laugh. Wait till it happens to you. Aliens don't just anal probe, you know.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:07 PM on June 21, 2009 [8 favorites]


Probably just alien n00bs shoving the anal probe in the wrong end.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:10 PM on June 21, 2009


They're a bit quick to rule out a rare deformity affecting the skull shape, especially in these cases, which look like minimally differentiated conjoined twinning to me.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:12 PM on June 21, 2009


I've always loved their work as models for Modigliani.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:13 PM on June 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure if this is relevant, but currently on my planet there are advertisements for drugs that will enlarge "that special part of the male anatomy".
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:19 PM on June 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I saw this one. It turns out that Sean Connery is really Luke's father or something. I wasn't really paying attention. I'm pretty sure the Nazi Commies hid in a refrigerator when the death star blew up though.
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:19 PM on June 21, 2009


I've actually been considering buying one for quite awhile.

I'm weird.
posted by Stunt at 11:23 PM on June 21, 2009


Not this again. Come on, there's no way you can survive a nuclear blast in a refrigerator, I don't care if it's lined with lead! And what was the deal with the monkeys in the trees? LUCAS BLOWS!!!!!11!!!!!!11!11
posted by scrowdid at 11:34 PM on June 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Pravda has really changed:

"Could it be that the holes were used for picking information from space or from the egg-headed colleagues scattered around the world?" (said of holes in the top of the elongated skulls)

Not what I was expecting at all.
posted by Tchad at 11:34 PM on June 21, 2009


That Fiendish Curiousities link above deserves a post of its own. Creepy...
posted by RGD at 11:42 PM on June 21, 2009


Yeah, I'm a huge fan of strange taxidermy stuff. I came across the skull while looking around at bizarre made monster things. Hmmm. Maybe I should put together a post.
posted by Stunt at 11:51 PM on June 21, 2009


I'd like to see some artists' interpretations of what these wondernoggins looked like in life.
posted by maryh at 11:53 PM on June 21, 2009


And I don't mean this.
posted by maryh at 11:57 PM on June 21, 2009


Pravda has really changed:

If you're thinking what I think you're thinking, they aren't the same publications. The old Pravda was [wiki] "a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991."

The thing published online today is unrelated to the defunct Communist Party paper, and is the sort of tabloid that would publish things like Exclusive Photos! Teen Liz Taylor Clone and Bat Boy in Shotgun Bikini Wedding!
posted by pracowity at 12:08 AM on June 22, 2009


I just can't get my head around this phenomenon.
posted by subgear at 12:23 AM on June 22, 2009


In the modern world we have a saying for people who assume positions of great power and responsibility: "you have some mighty big shoes to fill".

In the ancient world, it was hats.

If modern conservatives can be foolish enough to take Steven Colbert literally, can you really blame pre-historical peasants for missing the symbolism of big hats and mistakenly assuming their leaders had massive craniums?

They probably thought strapping a board to your kid's head was a great career move.
posted by Davenhill at 12:23 AM on June 22, 2009


The most likely explanation is that it is a form of head binding.

That's a pretty narrow-minded theory.
posted by rokusan at 1:50 AM on June 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


obRifftrax:
Indy: "Nazca indians used to bind their infants' heads with rope to elongate the skulls like that."
Mutt: "Why?"
Bill Corbett: "They were bored."
Indy: "To honor their gods."
Mutt: "No, no, god's head is not like that!"
Indy: "Depends on who your god is..."
Mike Nelson: "Pity the poor kids whose parents worship Charlie Brown."
posted by PontifexPrimus at 1:54 AM on June 22, 2009


They're probably just muants who survived nuclear alien wars on earth by hiding in primitive refrigerators (powered by the Baghdad Battery, natch).

Yeah, scrowdid. That's right. I went there.
posted by No-sword at 2:00 AM on June 22, 2009


Muants: Mutants from Mu. Alternatively, Cockney mutants who lack access to an IPA font.
posted by No-sword at 2:03 AM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Perhaps the hole at the top is where you put the vodka?

Seriously though, I'm trying to imagine what these people would look like while alive.
posted by ninazer0 at 2:37 AM on June 22, 2009


this pravda site is a goldmine!!
posted by molecicco at 3:01 AM on June 22, 2009


You find pretty much the same pictures by googling for Mayan skulls (well. plus those crystal things). Looks like the Maya really got around.
posted by dilettante at 3:19 AM on June 22, 2009


Aliens don't just anal probe, you know.

Believe me, I know!

*shudders*

*beeps*

Earth to Remulak, Earth to Remulak, come in Remulak!
posted by chillmost at 4:24 AM on June 22, 2009


You'll find a selection of reshaped skulls like these in the weird and wonderful Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, amonst many, many other objects of ethnographical interest.
posted by pharm at 4:30 AM on June 22, 2009


I've always loved their work as models for Modigliani.

I was thinking Holbein.
posted by pracowity at 5:24 AM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well apart from all the jokes, I find this fascinating. I had heard of foot binding to make the foot smaller (because small feet were thought to be attractive), but never heard of head binding. I mean, I had seen the ConeHeads movie forever ago, but never in a million years would I have guessed that the human skull is capable of being morphed into shapes like that.

Further, the fact that multiple cultures all over the globe, some that probably didn't have contact with each other, independently came up with the idea to do this for one can only guess what reasons is also fascinating.

And then I think about all the wacky people out there with all sorts of strange body modification stuff done (thinking here about the guy who turned himself into a lion) and I wonder why we haven't seen more head binding in modern society. Wouldn't that just be crazy!

It's also interesting that strongly intelligent societies like the Egyptian, and Mayan practiced this. I mean maybe the brain grows to fill the space. Science tells us that that wouldn't happen, but if anyone would know wouldn't it be the Egyptians with their extensive knowledge of the human body and the fact that they stuck hooks up the nose of their leaders and pulled the brains out after their death?

And then I wonder about how if the brain stays the same size how the membranes and fluid surrounding the brain fill the space. Is that person more apt to get concussions or suffer other brain trauma?

Maybe I kind of marginalized the post by adding in the reference to aliens, but this is seriously cool stuff just for the fact that it existed, that it was done, and that it was thought to be a good idea by someone somewhere for some reason.
posted by banished at 6:24 AM on June 22, 2009


I wonder why we haven't seen more head binding in modern society

I think head binding has to be done in infancy, and I'd guess people tend to report baby-brain smushing faster than it can become a trend. I wouldn't be surprised if adults have (probably unsuccessfully) tried in recent years to do this to themselves.
posted by fermezporte at 6:51 AM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


From Wikipedia:

At birth, the human skull is made up of 404 separate bony elements. As growth occurs, many of these bony elements gradually fuse together into solid bone (for example, the frontal bone). The bones of the roof of the skull are initially separated by regions of dense connective tissue called "cranial sutures". There are five sutures: the frontal suture, sagittal suture, lambdoid suture, coronal suture, and squamosal suture. At birth these regions are fibrous and moveable, necessary for birth and later growth. This growth can put a large amount of tension on the "obstetrical hinge," which is where the squamous and lateral parts of the occipital bone meet.
(Emphasis mine)

It makes a lot of sense that early societies would try to manipulate the skull, since it's fairly easy to do when starting at infancy. The holes at the tops of the skulls could very well be from a congruence of the skull fissures being compressed. IANAD but that is my guess.

That being said...damn theyz some fugly headz! LOLprimitivebodymodification.
posted by wowbobwow at 6:57 AM on June 22, 2009


Silly wabbit, The hole is for the straw.
posted by Gungho at 7:16 AM on June 22, 2009


We are from......France.
posted by Balisong at 7:34 AM on June 22, 2009


Mike Nelson: "Pity the poor kids whose parents worship Charlie Brown."

Or the works of Joe Liccar.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:39 AM on June 22, 2009


An image in the second link had me scratching my head for a few seconds.
posted by brain_drain at 7:41 AM on June 22, 2009


Wow, no one seems to have mentioned Ignatius Donelly's Atlantis: The Antediluvian World yet. Chapter IX: Artificial Deformations of the Skull.

I was a weird teenager...
posted by khaibit at 7:43 AM on June 22, 2009


Metafilter: We Report, You Decide Whether It Was Aliens Or Not
posted by aliasless at 8:48 AM on June 22, 2009


I have a nephew who was born with a very flattened skull on one side. This is apparently not that uncommon. He wore a special skull forming helmet for about 8 months as an infant, and presto! Pretty round skull.
posted by Malla at 8:50 AM on June 22, 2009


Teen Liz Taylor Clone and Bat Boy in Shotgun Bikini Wedding!

....I want to read this now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:28 AM on June 22, 2009


I have a nephew who was born with a very flattened skull on one side. This is apparently not that uncommon. He wore a special skull forming helmet for about 8 months as an infant, and presto! Pretty round skull.

Cue childhood flashback to Oblio and his dog Arrow...
posted by miss lynnster at 9:39 AM on June 22, 2009


I actually saw an old man that had an elongated head while traveling across africa, I can only assume that it was the result of head binding. It was a long time ago, (1991?) so I'm trying to remember more details - there may actually have been a man and a woman - both quite old. We saw them in a small town in what was then Zaire, dressed in very traditional-looking clothing (which was generally worn by less than half of the people we'd see there) The overall effect wasn't as disturbing as you'd expect, though at the time I was also sometimes seeing pygmies (aka) with lip disks, so odd was normal, if you know what I mean. Their faces looked normal, just the back of the head went sorta...up. They seemed very dignified. I didn't take and pictures because it felt disrespectful, but I was really fascinated to see it.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:24 PM on June 22, 2009


From the first link - "The plates or the so-called Iki stones are about 70 million years old. The drawings (on the plates)show people with disproportionately large heads.

I thought the earth was only five thousand years old.

Still an interesting subject.
posted by Iron Rat at 8:36 PM on June 22, 2009


Head Shaping is still being done to this date by many cultures.

In fact before my first son was born, the nurse told the new parents-to-be about it and hinted that she was against it but was formally noncommittal because she didn't want to offend any of the various cultures of the audience.
posted by eye of newt at 10:25 PM on June 22, 2009


Teeth shaping is near-universal in my culture, although that arguably has a practical as well as aesthetic purpose.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:34 PM on June 22, 2009


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