Last week one of my students wrote to me about something they'd seen on TV:
My friend & I saw this on Breakfast this morning. Although we don't think it is all true, we are still interested because they talked a lot about the skull's morphology & how they believe it is the offspring from a female human & an alien. Here's the website on it: http://www.starchildproject.com
It would be great to hear your thoughts
So I went off & had a look at the website, & wrote back...
My first thought is that (following what's called 'Occam's razor ') the simplest possible explanation is likely to be correct i.e. that this is simply a 'pathological' human skull, rather than a mysterious alien-human hybrid. (Read Armand LeRoy's book Mutants to get a feel for just how wide the range of potential variation is in humans.) Happliy there are ways of testing this - the skull is reportedly only 900 years old so it should be possible to look at its DNA.
And indeed this has been done - & the data are presented on the Starchild project's website. Which surprised me more than a little, given that they don't support the hybrid idea! The skull in question - which certainly has an interesting shape - was found along with the remains of an adult female. The DNA results show that both woman & child were both native Americans, not related to each other, & also that the child was male. There is absolutely no indication there of any 'alien' DNA. (Which is what I would have predicted - if we were to be visited by extraterrestrial individuals, why would we expect them to be a) humanoid & b) genetically compatible with us? ie the likelihood of successful interbreeding is vanishingly small. And that's a big 'if' in any case... Carl Sagan had some sensible things to say on that issue in Demon-haunted world.)
My personal view is that the whole thing should have been examined rather more critically by the programmers before it made it to air. But then, I have ceased to be surprised at the uncritical nature of much that's presented by our broadcast media (with the honourable exception of the National Program!).