Friday, October 28, 2011

Elongated skulls and brainpower

I was watching Ancient Aliens last night.  (My husband remarked, "is this show a training course for crazy people?")  Honestly the topics all run together but this one, as many of their episodes do, featured the elongated skulls of some ancient Egyptians and also people from Peru.  According to the show, either the elongated-skull people are ALIENS or they are trying to look like ALIENS.  Now I think there just might be ALIENS don't get me wrong and perhaps they visited the planet a few times, but everything from the past is not freaking ALIENS.  The show is funny, though.
Back to long skulls.I don't really care if the people with long skulls were alien or human or hybrid. I'm interested in the INSIDE of those skulls.  What did their brains look like?  Were they smarter or dumber than people with regular round heads?  What was the size of their brain case vs round skulls?  I know they can do this with tiny pellets, come on, hasn't any anthropologist ever wondered?  I put together this picture of a regular brain and a Peruvian mummy skull from a couple of sources and it seems evident to me that these people should have had HUGE brains, right?  What part got bigger?  How did that change them? 
King Tut, his step-mother Nerfertiti and his sister (forgot her name) were all depicted with long, graceful skulls.  But if you look at his actual head next to a sculpture of him, it doesn't quite measure up, does it?  The angle isn't 100% but it's obvious that his head is more pointed and squat.  But clearly the head in the sculpture is achievable--look at the mummy from Peru.  So why was it important his people THOUGHT he had a big long head?
Looking for "elongated skulls" on Google Images, quite a few photos of current people with long skulls come up.  Whether these people have naturally long heads or have been artificially deformed, I don't know, but I have to wonder if anyone has ever taking an MRI of their brains or one of those scans where they ask you to do math and memory problems and see what lights up.  Or get them to donate their bodies to science and dissect their brains.

Is there a reason, besides aesthetics, to deform your skull?  Does it make you smarter, increase your memory, give you better math or verbal or spacial skills?  Or is there no brain in the extra space, just bone or fluid?  I found one result on Google books which says it's "mere displacement of the brain" that "does not change intellect" but that baffles me.  That Peruvian head looks like it could fit two extra brains.  Then again, the book is from 1869.
Anyway, lacking any formal training in physical anthropology, and also lacking any elongated skulls to work on, there isn't much I can do except wonder why someone who does have training and skulls isn't working on this.

Sources: skull w hair  tut bust  tut skull   regular skull alien guy skull combinations by me

1 comment:

Valerie said...

Well Bert, I'm intrigued. Can't wait to see a follow-up!