Mummies found in a tomb near the Nazca Lines in Peru early 2017 are back in the news. This new discovery made headlines because despite their humanoid appearance, they had three fingers and toes and elongated skulls.
Websites such as Snopes are dismissive of the discovery.
Maria The Mummy
Tissue samples from the mummy named Maria show that it is not human. Russian geneticists from St. Petersburg tested the samples to determine the origin of the mummy. It was determined that the mummy dates back to the fifth century A.D.
Despite having 23 chromosomes like humans, researchers have said that the mummy is not one of us. Researchers are also in the process of seeing the shape of the chromosomes and amino acids to see if they're similar to those of human beings.
One difference in its structure to that of humans is its ribcage. It is keel-shaped in the upper area and made up of a handful of semicircular ribs. This shape helped researchers study its internal organs.
In order to preserve Maria, cadmium chloride was used. It is a chemical that has an antibacterial effect. Russian scientists are working with Peruvian researchers in the hope of taking the mummy to St. Petersburg for further studies.
Maria wasn't the only mummy that was studied by Russian scientists. After analyzing Maria, they studied the genome of a mummy named Vavita, which was nine months old. Researchers believe that this may be the child of the Maria mummy.
Carbon dating of both mummies shows different results. One test had the mummies as 6,500 years old, while another test put them at about 4,000 years old.
Evidence shows that the mummies are human, but researchers said that their anatomic structures are completely different from those of humans.
Male mummies were also examined by the scientists. Those mummies are about 3 feet tall and also have three fingers with elongated skulls. They're also missing their nasal cavities and have no superciliary arches.
Anthropologists say that the reason that the mummies were found with elongated skulls was due to the practice of artificial cranial deformation, which was done to children. This was accomplished by binding children's heads in cloth, rope, or wooden boards.