Cryptids: The Starchild Skull

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Scientific explanations have pointed to various ailments and syndromes, as well as to certain artificial, ritualistic skull deformation techniques. “Explanations for the skull’s unusual features include the use of cradle boarding on a hydrocephalic child, brachycephaly, Crouzon syndrome, congenital hydrocephalus, and progeria,” according to Wikipedia.

A popular paranormal explanation is that the Starchild skull is the result of human-alien breeding, specifically the combination of human female DNA with that of a “grey” alien. Grey aliens may perhaps be most well known in popular culture to have large cranial structures and shallow eye sockets.


DNA Testing

Forensic DNA testing done in 1999 at a lab in Vancouver, BC “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’,” according to Wikipedia.

However, DNA testing done in 2003 at a lab that “specializes in extracting DNA from ancient samples” was able to recover mitochondrial DNA (DNA from the mother) but “was not able to recover useful lengths of nuclear DNA,” which comes from the father.

In talking about the 2003 tests Pye is quoted as saying:

“In 2003 we had a DNA analysis that used human-only primers to recover the Starchild’s mitochondrial DNA, the DNA outside the nucleus, which comes from the mother and her genetic line. That meant its mother was human. But we could not recover its nuclear DNA, which comes from both mother and father, which meant its father was not a human. Unfortunately, with the recovery technology of 2003 we couldn’t prove what he was, which left us in scientific limbo. The ‘no result’ from the search for the nuclear DNA clearly meant Dad wasn’t human, but we could not prove that fact beyond all possible doubt.”

While whether or not that “clearly” means that the father wasn’t human can likely be debated, subsequent DNA testing done in 2010 has, according to Pye, shown “a clear recovery of its nuclear DNA, which could not be done in 2003.” And what does the nuclear DNA show?

When compared to the National Institute of Health’s database containing “all genetic information generated by geneticists all over the world,” a sample of 265 base pairs of the Starchild skull’s DNA from the X chromosome matched up against known human DNA, while 342 base pairs from the Y chromosome returned “no significant similarity” to any known DNA.

This leads Pye to conclude, “To recover a stretch of base pairs as long as that with NO reference in the NIH database is astounding because it means there is no known earthly corollary for what has been analyzed!” All of the information is presented in a recent posting from Pye to his newsletter subscribers, the full text of which can be found here.


Skeptics argue that the Starchild skull and its related studies amount to little more than pseudoscience, while believers cite the most recent DNA tests and anomalies inherent within the actual bone structure as evidence of something out of this world or, at the very least, not yet known to this world. As with most mysterious events, we’ll probably never know the whole story. That’s kind of half the fun, though.

Further Reading

Starchild Skull (Wikipedia)

The Starchild Project (

Introduction to the Starchild Skull by Lloyd Pye (YouTube)

The Starchild Project (New England Skeptical Society)

Llyod Pye Update: We finally have a recovery of nuclear DNA from the Starchild skull (

The Mystery of the Starchild Skull (

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