Blog: The Starchild Skull

by Michael Lauck
Listen to the related podcast here.

cran_ing_skullsc2The artifact known as the Starchild Skull is considered by some to be a piece of an alien or alien-human hybrid. It was supposedly found in Mexico in 1930 but this is not confirmed. The owners of the Starchild Skull enlisted author/researcher Lloyd Pye to help investigate its origins in 1999. The skull is of an unusual shape with a large cranial capacity that is reminiscent of the large, round heads typically associated with the “gray aliens.” According to Pye, the bone of the cranium is much thinner and lighter than a normal human skull but much more durable and with mysterious microscopic fibers. The Starchild Skull has undergone a series of scientific tests (testing continues to this day) but the results are disputed by many.

Discovery of the Skulls

images-5The skull that is now known as the Starchild has a rather mysterious past. Supposedly, an American teenage girl on vacation with her parents in Mexico found the artifact in 1930. While exploring in the Copper Canyon region of Chihuahua, she found what appeared to be a mineshaft. Inside, she discovered a full human skeleton. There was also a small burial mound with the  protruding bones of an arm being clutched by a hand. Intrigued, the girl dug through l-pyeRthe mound and found two additional skeletons, one of which seemed to by a child with a strange skull. Unfortunately, most of the bones were lost to flash flooding, but the teen brought the strange skull, part of its jawbone and the other skull from the mound home to El Paso as souvenirs. She kept them in a cardboard box for decades. After passing away in the early 1990s, the skulls were given to Ray and Melanie Young in 1998. Recognizing that one of the skulls was abnormal, neonatal nurse Melanie convinced MUFON member Ray that it was something unusual and they recruited author and researcher Lloyd Pye to help investigate the Starchild Skull.

Starchild Characteristics

skull_starchildEven to the naked eye, the Starchild Skull is extraordinary. From the front, the skull appears to be more rectangular than a normal skull. The eye sockets are close set and centered. The brain case appears abnormally large with a flattened back. Closer examination reveals that the bone comprising the Starchild Skull is thinner and lighter than a comparably sized normal human skull. Despite this, it is not brittle as is to be expected in bone thinned by deformity. Under a scanning electron microscope it was discovered that the bone contained a number of unidentified fibrous structures. The appearance of the skull suggests to some that it could be from the body of an alien of the so-called “gray” variety or a human-alien hybrid. Others feel that the skill is simply that of a deformed human child.

Simply A Deformed Child?

The idea that a skull with a rather questionable history is not human, or at least fully human, is difficult for many to accept. It is commonly suggested that it is merely suffering from a comparatively rare but known condition such as hydrocephaly. One of the main arguments against this is the fact that the bones of the skull are both lighter and thinner than normal skulls but stronger. Normally when deformities lead to bone thinning the bones are left brittle and weakened. Other common suggestions, such as cradle-boarding, a type of head binding practiced by some peoples that led to purposely elongated skulls, do not account for the mysterious fibers found in the bone.

Scientific Testing and Results

ag4f4efab9Testing of the Starchild and its mundane companion have shown both skulls to be approximately 900 years old. The companion is a normal female skull, probably belonging to a young adult. There seems to be no genetic link between the two skulls, so the normal skull is neither mother or sister to the Starchild. It has been theorized that if the skeletons were discovered as has been described (together with the Starchild holding onto the young woman’s arm) the female may have been a caretaker of the child. Unfortunately, as there are no records of the burial site there is very little that can be learned from the position of the skeletons or the earth that made up their burial mound.

The first genetic tests on the Starchild Skull were performed in 1999. Results seemed to indicate that it was a human skull with unknown deformities, but these tests were later determined to be due to contamination. It must be remembered that forensic testing is a specialty and such testing on ancient remains are an even more specialized endeavor. Testing in this case has been complicated by the fact that the skulls were recovered by an amateur and are believed to have spent decades stored in a cardboard box without any special care or attention afforded to them. A 2003 test conducted by Trace Genetics, the lab that performed the testing on the Kennewick Man. These tests showed that although both skulls had maternal genetic characteristics that were consist with known Native American groups, they were not related. Unfortunately, these tests were not able to provide all the genetic information that was needed to determine the origin of the Starchild. Additional examinations of the anomalous skull and jawbone fragment showed that its teeth had enamel consistent with an adult and wear indicating that it was a fully mature adult, not a child.

In 2011 another set of genetic tests revealed that the mitochondrial DNA of the Starchild Skull had many inconsistencies when compared to human DNA. Tests to determine the number of mitochondrial mutation suggest that the Starchild has less in common with normal humans than Neanderthals and Denisova (another prehistoric species of the genus Homo), although more in common with modern humans than chimpanzees.

Future of the Starchild

There are more tests that Lloyd Pye would like to see performed on the Starchild Skull. To this end he is actively seeking help, including an effort to gain government support via a petition to the White House. In this petition the Starchild Project, the group formed to raise money testing and oversee the skulls, posits that unlocking the secrets of the skull and its unique make up, be it a deformed human child or something more extraordinary, could help science to design therapies that could lead to new forms of bone strengthening and tooth replacement. At this point it is estimated that the next round of testing will cost approximately seven million dollars. Of course, if the Starchild is indeed an alien-human hybrid, then deciphering its genetic code could be the key to proving the ancient alien theory.

For Further Information:

The official website of the Starchild Project:


images-1Lloyd Pye, The Starchild Skull — Genetic Enigma of Alien Human Hybrid? (2007)

A skeptical look at the Starchild from the Bad Archaeology website:

 Martin Willis added at post edit: Another skeptical look at the Starchild

3 thoughts on “Blog: The Starchild Skull

  • Pingback: 35. News and chat with Lloyd Pye on the Starchild Skull | Podcast UFO

  • February 18, 2013 at 5:19 am

    Very informative article. A great supplement to the interview.
    I did not know about this subject at all.
    I wish they were much more Michael and Martin to boost the field of Ufology.


  • February 26, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks! You are still in China, right? I am not surprised that news of the Starchild hasn’t made it to China even though it has seen some attention in the US UFO shows and such; when I was working in Shanghai a few years ago it seemed the only foreign programs on television were European magic specials!

Comments are closed.