It’s not often that a guy sitting in a bar pulls an alien skull in bubble wrap out of his sports bag and plonks it down on the table in front of you.
But that’s exactly how I met Lloyd Pye, the investigator of a human-like skull with a baffling array of bizarre deformities, which has also caught the attention of producers at the National Geographic cable TV channel. As a result, on November 27th they will feature it on Ancient Astronauts, an episode of the cable channel’s Is It Real? series.
“They contacted us,” says Lloyd Pye, the skull’s caretaker for the past seven years, “because they heard it was the most scientifically tested relic to ever be put forth as possibly having off-world origins. In other words, it has an excellent chance to definitively prove to be alien.”
Although I’m fairly skeptical when it comes to aliens, when I met Lloyd in that bar I could see exactly what intrigued him about the skull as he talked me through the salient points of the shallow eye sockets and strangely-shaped cranium. What had impressed Lloyd about the misshapen skull was that the deformity was completely uniform and symmetrical, which wouldn't be the case if it had been the result of a congenital defect or some disfiguring disease.
But could this indeed be the skull of an alien-human hybrid?
Astonishingly that outlandish claim is supported by test results from respected scientific specialists. The skull’s DNA was extensively analyzed by Trace Genetics, a California company noted for its work with ancient DNA. They recovered its mitochondrial DNA with relative ease; but its nuclear DNA defied recovery.
Mitochondrial DNA is passed along through females, and tests determined that the mystery skull's mother was indeed human. However, nuclear DNA contains genetic material from both parents, and somehow the chemical "primers" that seek out those materials were unable to locate their “human-only” corollaries.
“We made seven attempts,” says Dr. Jason Eshelman of Trace Genetics, who was interviewed for the show and doesn’t mince words about results. “One explanation is that its nuclear DNA was degraded in some unique but plausible way, which is what I believe. However, it must be said that the lack of recovery could also be due to basic primer ineffectiveness.”
Lloyd Pye is convinced the latter is the case. “The primers they use are for recovering very specific segments of human nuclear DNA - nothing else. If they whiffed in all seven at-bats, I think it means the primers can’t find what they’re looking for because this skull contains more than human DNA.”
As Pye sees it, “more than human DNA” means the skull is a hybrid mix between a human and another being.
But critics continue to claim that the skull can be no more than an exotic birth defect, something with no connection to aliens other than its wide following in alternative knowledge circles.
Furthermore, the mysterious skull’s uncertain provenance only fuels the skeptics’ cynicism. Allegedly discovered by an American teenager in a Mexican mineshaft while on vacation in the 1930s, the deformed skeleton was said to have been entwined with that of a human female skeleton in a manner evocative of a ritual murder or suicide. The teenager apparently took the skulls of both bodies back home with her as gruesome holiday souvenirs and hid them away for over sixty years. After the death of the erstwhile adventurer, the skulls eventually found their way into Lloyd’s hands as a result of his highly regarded work on the Intervention Theory of human origins, resulting in seven years of intensive investigation.
However, official skepticism does not deter Pye, who insists that plenty of scientific data is available to support his position. “This skull’s bone is uniformly half as thick as normal human bone, in every part of it; it weighs half as much; it contains vastly more collagen than it should; and it is two or three times as hard. And those are just a few of a dozen major differences.”
Its light-yet-hard quality was especially puzzling until a sample of its bone came under a scanning electron microscope at Royal Holloway, University of London. That revealed something unprecedented embedded in the bone matrix were fibers that somehow resisted shearing by a high-speed blade. Ends are shredded rather than cleanly cut, proving incredible durability.
“As far as we know,” Pye says, “those fibers are unique in the world. But that wasn’t all we found in England. In tests conducted by Dr. Ken Pye, a forensic CSI-type investigator, a reddish residue was found in several of the cancellous holes where marrow resides. Normally at death, internal bacteria scour cancellous holes completely clean, so no residue should be there”
Dr. Ken Pye is not related to Lloyd Pye, but he’s glad he agreed to work on this mystery. “I’ve never seen anything like it, though I’m keeping an open mind about explanations other than alien origin.” And so should we all, just as we should also consider that maybe Lloyd Pye is right about it. In any case, Lloyd insists, absolute proof is looming on the horizon.
“Recently, great media fanfare announced the Neanderthal genome will be sequenced in two years by a new DNA recovery technique that doesn’t use primers. Well, guess what? That same technique can sequence our mystery skull’s DNA. Right now it’s a long, tedious, labor intensive process, but by 2008 we anticipate a much quicker turnaround. I expect a definitive answer to this amazing relic’s genetic heritage before the decade is out. For now, it’s enough for people to know it exists, and it has the best scientific credentials anything like it has ever enjoyed. Watch this space.”
And watch the National Geographic channel on November 27 at 8pm to judge for yourself whether this could truly be a skull from the skeleton of an alien-human hybrid.
National Geographic Channel: Is it Real?
Monday, November 27, 2006, at 08P
Monday, December 4, 7P