Shrunken Head DNA Proves Horrific Folklore True
2012-12-14 0:00

By Jennifer Viegas | AssociatedPress

Genetic analysis of a shrunken head verifies anecdotal accounts of violent head-hunting in South America.

A remarkably well-preserved shrunken head has just been authenticated by DNA analysis, which provides strong evidence that anecdotal accounts of violent head-hunting in South America were true.

The study, published in the latest issue of Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, marks the first successful effort to unveil the genetic make-up of a shrunken head.

"The shrunken heads were made from enemiesí heads cut on the battlefield," co-author Gila Kahila Bar-Gal told Discovery News. "Then, during spiritual ceremonies, enemiesí heads were carefully reduced through boiling and heating, in the attempt to lock the enemyís spirit and protect the killers from spiritual revenge."

Kahila Bar-Gal is a senior lecturer in the Hebrew University of Jerusalemís Koret School of Veterinary Medicine. She is also a faculty member within the universityís department of Agriculture, Food and Environment.


For the study, she and her colleagues used DNA testing and other techniques to examine the authenticity and possible cultural provenance of a shrunken head displayed at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv. The head remains in an incredible state of preservation, with the deceased manís hair, facial features and other physical characteristics intact.

Many shrunken heads are forgeries, with some 80 percent suspected to be fakes. The late 19th through the 20th centuries saw a rise in manufacture of such fakes for profit.

The shrunken head at the Israeli museum, however, turns out to be legit.

"The shrunken head we studied was made from a real human skin," Kahila Bar-Gal said. "The people who made it knew exactly how to peel the skin from the skull, including the hair," she added, mentioning that it was also salted and boiled.

[...]


Read the full article at: discovery.com





Related Articles
Creepy Cannibals: Bones Show Ancient Britons Ate the Dead, Used Skulls as Cups
More than 100 graves robbed in Benin for voodoo rituals
Rituals of War: The Giant Pyramid of Captured German Helmets
Skulls From Sacrificial Rituals Found in Temple
Tribe Meets a White Man for the First Time?


Latest News from our Front Page

White House Pushes Race War, Then Blames Guns For Flanagan's "Race War"
2015-08-27 5:04
"You want a race war (expletive)?" Asked shooter The Obama administration is blaming guns for the WBDJ-TV shooting, even though the shooter, Vester Flanagan, was influenced by the White House’s race baiting. The White House has been falsely insinuating that racism is the dominant factor behind numerous events over the past several years, even those that didn’t involve race at all, and ...
How Google Destroyed the Internet
2015-08-27 5:12
The internet was created to resolve a simple problem: in communications networks, any central node through which all messages passed was vulnerable to attack or takeover. To counter this, engineers designed a network where any node would pass messages to other nodes, routing around any damage. Then came commerce and the democratization of the internet. Under this model, frightened sheep flock to ...
German government opens borders to all Syrians
2015-08-27 4:00
The German government has flung open Germany‚Äôs borders to any and all Syrians, regardless of whether they claim to be asylum seekers. A statement from the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees said that ‚ÄúGermany will become the member state responsible for processing their claims.‚ÄĚ This new diktat means Syrians will no longer have their asylum cases reviewed to see if ...
Left Pushes End of Church Tax Exemptions
2015-08-27 2:51
Emboldened by their latest win in the Supreme Court over same-sex "marriage," the left has been trumpeting the cause tax exemptions for religious institutions at a much faster rate, setting the stage for it to become a national agenda.   Immediately following the Supreme Court decision that declared same-sex marriage legal, Time's Mark Oppenheimer openly declared that churches should be stripped of their ...
Meet America’s First School District to Serve 100% Organic Meals
2015-08-27 2:05
When schools in California’s Sausalito Marin City District return to session this August, they will be the first in the nation to serve their students 100 percent organic meals, sustainably sourced and free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). More than 500 students at Bayside MLK Jr. Academy in Marin City and Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito will eat fresh, local food ...
More News »