The Starchild skull is an abnormal human skull allegedly found in Mexico that is claimed to be the product of extraterrestrial-human breeding or genetic manipulation. Tests conducted utilizing mtDNA recovered from the skull have established it as human. Experts believe it to be the skull of a child who died as a result of known genetic or congenital abnormalities, such as congenital hydrocephalus.
According to purveyors of the tale, an unnamed American stumbled upon a grave in Mexico containing the remains of an adult female and young child. The remains were supposedly brought to the United States and passed from owner to owner until retained by an American couple living in Texas. Paranormal researcher Lloyd Pye says he obtained the skull from Ray and Melanie Young of El Paso, Texas, in February 1999. According to Pye, the skull was found around 1930 in a mine tunnel about 100 miles (160 km) southwest of Chihuahua, Mexico, buried alongside a normal human skeleton that was exposed and lying supine on the surface of the tunnel.
Pye’s “Starchild Project” supporters claim that the skull is that of an extraterrestrial infant, or the hybrid offspring of an extraterrestrial and a human female. According to Pye, a dentist determined, based on examination of the upper right maxilla found with the skull, that it was a child’s skull, 4.5 to 5 years in age, however, the volume of the interior of the starchild skull is 1,600 cubic centimeters, which is 200 cm³ larger than the average adult’s brain, and 400 cm³ larger than an adult of the same approximate size. The orbits are oval and shallow, with the optic nerve canal situated closer to the bottom of the orbit than to the back. There are no frontal sinuses. The back of the skull is flattened. The skull consists of calcium hydroxyapatite, the normal material of mammalian bone. Pye says that Carbon 14 dating was performed twice, the first on the normal human skull at the University of California at Riverside in 1999, and on the Starchild skull in 2004 at Beta Analytic in Miami, and both tests provided results of 900 years ± 40 years since death.
Steven Novella of Yale University Medical School concludes that the cranium exhibits all of the characteristics of a child who has died as a result of congenital hydrocephalus, and that the cranial deformations were the result of accumulations of cerebrospinal fluid within the skull.
DNA testing in 1999 at BOLD (Bureau of Legal Dentistry), a forensic DNA lab in Vancouver, British Columbia found standard X and Y chromosomes in two samples taken from the skull, “conclusive evidence that the child was not only human (and male), but both of his parents must have been human as well, for each must have contributed one of the human sex chromosomes”. Further DNA testing in 2003 at Trace Genetics, which specializes in extracting DNA from ancient samples, isolated mitochondrial DNA from both recovered skulls. The child belongs to haplogroup C. Since mitochondrial DNA is inherited exclusively from the mother, it makes it possible to trace the offspring’s maternal lineage. The DNA test therefore confirmed that the child’s mother was a Haplogroup C human female. However, the adult female found with the child belonged to haplogroup A. Both haplotypes are characteristic Native American haplogroups, but the different haplogroup for each skull indicates that the adult female was not the child’s mother.