I was asked to examine the “Star Child” skull from Mexico by lead investigator Chase Kloetzke. My prior work with Chase on the elongated Paracas skulls in 2014 for LA Marzulli was published in my journal “The Mystery of the Elongated Skulls“.

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The purpose of my review was to catalog osteological craniofacial features by using visual/objective assessment. The purpose of the second study was to establish the cranial capacity by volume. I had no knowledge of this particular specimen nor its history with prior researchers.

I met Melanie Young the owner of the specimen in Lubbock, TX  of August 2016 where I was speaking at a conference. I was able to examine the skull first hand and noticed immediately the display of the head demonstrates craniofacial disproportion with a large cranium relative to the facial size was very prominent, shallow eye sockets, narrow nasal bridge, and a small face showing prominent aberrant morphology. Below is my professional evaluation of the skull with the osteology report.

 

General observations:

The skull is symmetrical but abnormally shaped with the basic components of a human skull: i.e., a frontal bone, two temporals, two parietals, and an occipital. However, both maxilla and mandible bones are missing and the zygomatic arches are broken.

The skull is atraumatic with no trepanation noted. However, one large irregular shaped square area on the right parietal has been removed by a modern saw tool apparently for past testing (post-mortem). A large area of 109 mm has been removed or broken from the inferior skull completely obliterating the foramen magnum and the occipital condiles. The extensive loss of bone has irreversibly damaged any further examination of this area.

Morphology of this skull is highly aberrant with significant “ballooning” of the cranium noted. Skull thickness is 3.10 mm. There is no evidence of brow ridges. The orbital sockets are unusually shallow measuring a depth of only 0.5 inches. Both parietals are bulged.  All sutures present; non-fused & open. No abnormal widening of the sutures are noted. Atypical fossa in the sagittal suture is noted down to where the foramen magnum should be. Fontanelles are closed. The occipital is abnormally flattened. Two wormian ossicles are noted. The external occipital protuberance is absent from the center of the occipital bone.

Cranial volume:

Skull measurements were conducted using both straight & elliptical digital calipers. Cranial volume was measured using rice to determine the weight. The weight was then converted from kilograms (kg) to cubit centimeters (cm3) to determine volume. The density of the rice (753 kg/m3) was factored in.

Result: Cranial volume: 1640 cm3. Cranial capacity is outside of normal accepted parameters. Etiology unknown.

Summary:

Unable to determine age or sex for this study. No teeth or mandible were present with this specimen at the time of examination. No evidence of artificial or external cradle-boarding is noted. Hydrocephaly should be ruled out. Differential diagnosis should include congenital deformations and/or pathology such as Progeria or Down Syndrome with Brachycephaly which cannot be ruled out. When this specimen is compared to sketches of Brachycephaly, striking similarities in skull shape are notedly apparent. The skull fits the description of Brachycephaly in my professional opinion.

  • This report is an independent, scientific study of the skull based on my assessment of this specimen from a strict forensic and osteological evaluation only.

Copyright 2016 Aaron Judkins, Ph.D.

 

StarChild Skull Drawing

 

References: 

Ali FE, Al-Bustan MA, Al-Busairi WA, Al-Mulla FA, Esbaita EY. (2002). Cervical spine abnormalities associated with Down syndrome. Pubmed.

Altintas AG, Gul Aksoy FG, Altintas CS, Midillioglu IK, Duman S. (1999). Evaluation of findings in Crouzon’s syndrome. Pubmed.

Dihaj S, Abada A, Baha Ali T, Benhaddou M, Rais L, Hamdani M, Amraoui A, Zaghloul K. (2005). Apert syndrome: a reported observation. Pubmed.

E. H. Aylward, PhD, N. J. Minshew, MD, K. Field, BA, B. F. Sparks, BS and N. Singh, BS. (2002). Effects of age on brain volume and head circumference in autism. Pubmed.

Graham JM Jr, Kreutzman J, Earl D, Halberg A, Samayoa C, Guo, X. (2005). Deformational brachycephaly in supine-sleeping infants. Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA.

Hutchison BL, Hutchison LA, Thompson JM, Mitchell EA. (2004). Quantification of plagiocephaly and brachycephaly in infants using a digital photographic technique. Department of Pediatrics, University of Auckland, New Zealand. Pubmed.

Matshes, E. and Lew, E. (2006). Forensic osteology. In Forensic Pathology: Principles and Practice, D. Dolinak, E. Matshes, and E. Lew, Editors. San Diego, CA: Elsevier (Academic Press).

Med-Policy. (2006). Cranial Orthosis. [on line]. Available:  http://www.bluecrosswisconsin.com/provider/medpolicy/policies/OR-PR/cranial_orthosis.html>

McDonald, W. (1999) Forensic Faces. [on line]. Available: http://www.alienufoart.com/ForensicFaces.htm>

Plastic and Craniofacial Surgery. (2006). Craniosynostosis. [on line]. Available: http://www.kidsplastsurg.com/craniosynostosis.html

Venes, D. Thomas, C. Taber, C. (2005). Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. The F.A. Davis Company.

www.utmb.edu/otoref/grnds/congenital-abnormal-101122/congen-abnorm-slides-101122.pdf

Walker, Alan & Shipman, Pat. The Wisdom of the Bones. New York: Knopf, 1996.

 

Also see:

  1. A Bone to Pick with the Starchild Skull
  2. https://manvsarchaeology.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/the-paracas-skulls-an-osteological-evaluation/
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  1. […] Mexico Skull Forensic Osteology Report aka “Star Child” […]

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