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December 21, 2012:
Cranially deformed skulls often mistaken for being "alien."

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Cosmetic Alteration:

Around the world, cosmetic alterations to humans have gone on for thousands of years, and involved everything from teeth filing, the binding of feet, the use of metal rings around the neck to create an elongated look, and the piercing of everything from ears to lips. In most of these cases, the practice of cosmetic alteration throughout history involved a certain amount of pain, since unlike today there weren't good anasthetics and pain was part of the practice. Even today, tribal tattooing involves painful piercing of the skin and scarification, so before we judge people in the past we might want to look to ourselves.

What Was Cranial Deformation?

Dental Mutilation part of practice

The practice of cranial mutilation was common in indigineous cultures in Central and South America prior to conquest by European settlers. Elongated skulls are a found in graves in Mexico, Peru, and points in between, and there are several different methods by which skulls were elongated or flattened for cosmetic or ritual purposes. In some cases, children's heads were placed between wedged boards in order to elongate the skull, and in other instances wrappings may have been used for the same effect. Unfortunately, evidence indicates that this may have been fatal on many occasions, or may have led to brain issues given that the brain was not able to grow normally, or may have been damaged by the process of wrapping or flattening the cranium. In the same way that foot binding was popular in China until the 20th century, cranial deformation was practiced cosmetically, though it is not certain whether this practice was common across all classes or was primarily for the well-to-do.

Notes and Special Information

Special note: Cranial deformation leads to a lot of "alien skull" theories, and perhaps that guy from Ancient Aliens has such a funny hairstyle is that his skull is elongated and he is trying to hide it.