Guide to Patagonia's Monsters & Mysterious beings

I have written a book on this intriguing subject which has just been published.
In this blog I will post excerpts and other interesting texts on this fascinating subject.

Austin Whittall

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Lovelock Skull and Spirit Cave Man- Nevada

Besides the skulls of the "Nebraska Loess Man" (posted yesterday), other odd looking skulls have been found in the U.S., of course, they received a similar treatment, they are classed as normal, and any unusual features are noted but their real cause is assumed as natural variations (i.e. within normality), instead of wondering if they could belong to another more primitive or archaic human, they are boxed off as recent H. sapiens remains.

The Skull

lovelock skull

Lovelock skull, notice the occipital bun and the brows (arrows). From [1]

The skull of an adult male was found in 1967, 3 miles southwest of Lovelock cave, in a salt-flat.

It had a "notably strong browridge... strong nuchal crest [one running along the center of the rear part of the skull, though not apparent in the photographs] ...retreating forehead ... massive occipital torus or crest".[1]

It was classed among the "Early Period Central California material", which also have big occipital buns and glabellar prominences (crest between the eyes above the nose).

Therefore it is not of "any great antiquity" not more than 6.000 BC.

However, "occipital buns" are a feature found in 81.8% of Neanderthal skulls but only in 60% of Upper Paleolithic Modern Humans. [2] It is rare among modern Humans. Maybe the native American found at Lovelock was one of those "select few" modern humans who have a bun. Or he had a high proportion of Neanderthal genes in him.

Spirit Cave

However, there are other clues: A mummified body of a man was recovered from Spirit Cave also at Lovelock, Nevada in 1940; it was dated in 1994 to 10,630 Ka. It was contested in a court of law by the local Paiute natives who have lived there as far as anyone can remember, they wanted to keep it out of a museum and bury it (read more and even more on the issue of "repatriating" native American remains, which also concerns another "caucasoid": Kennewick man and placed his remains in a legal limbo).

The unusual “Caucasoid” features of the cave-man are quite unlike those of current Native Americans (Paiute) living in the area in historic times, Spirit Cave man exhibits “Caucasoid” features and "Red hair" (which was attributed to decoloring due to the salt of the nearby salt-flats).[4]

Interestingly, the Paiute natives of Nevada, according to a book written in 1883 by one of them, Winnemucca, a Chief's daughter, tells us how they exterminated a “small tribe of barbarians” known as “people-eaters"; who waylayed them to “kill and eat them”. They “had reddish hair” from which the Paitue later made dresses. [3]

Red hair is not at all common among Amerindians or East Asians but Neanderthal had the MC1R gene (melanocortin 1 receptor) associated with red hair in humans.[5]

So maybe a band of relict Neanderthals lived in Nevada until quite recently and were wiped out by the Paiute.


[1] Reed, E., (1967). An Unusual Human Skull from near Lovelock, Nevada, University of Utah Press. Miscellaneous Collected Papers, No.18.
[2] Ahern, J. link
[3] Hopinks Winnemucca, (1883). Life among the Piutes, their wrongs and claims. Putnam’s. N. York. P 73
[4] Barker, C Ellis, S. Damadio, (2000). Determination of cultural affiliation of ancient human remains from Spirit Cave. Nevada P Bureau of Land Management Nevada State Office.
[5] Lalueza-Fox, C., Römpler, H., Hofreiter M., et al., (2007). A melanocortin 1 receptor allele suggests varying pigmentation among Neanderthals. Science, October 25, 2007

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia Copyright 2009-2014 by Austin Whittall © 


  1. Hello - some thoughts again .. ;-)
    1. Red hair is not only Neanderthalensis, but merely Cro-Magnon, the "celtic-type" in Europe.
    2. Late H.Erectus lived in China until -30-40ky .. - admixtures could happen not only there, but in America also.
    3. Sorry, rudely+incomplete ;-)

  2. I am currently writing a post precisely on that subject, choice excerpts below:
    There are a number of possible explanations for this, the higher Neanderthal ancestry could have
    (i) originated by direct admixture in the Americas, between the founding American population and Neanderthals settled in America.
    (ii) arisen by admixture in Asia between Neanderthals and the Asian source population, in which it was subsequently lost by genetic drift or extinction of that population.
    This is not reflected in the global distribution of B006. Although there is a high frequency of the haploytpe in the Neanderthal homeland in Western Eurasia and the Indus region (18)(443), America has the highest global value for this haplotype. This suggests a “significant presence of Neanderthal lineages in the Americas” (19), which we interpret as arising from admixture having taken place in America.

    Regarding Red Hair, In these papers I am focusing on a possible admixture with Neanderthals, not with Northern European (i.e. solutrean hypothesis)
    Red hair is very infrequent among Amerindians and Mongoloids, but, apparently could be a Neanderthal trait since they had the MC1R gene (melanocortin 1 receptor) associated with red hair in humans (28).
    I am still working on Part 2 the genetics, Part 1 the sites / tools is done.

  3. A second comment, When in Pakistan a few years ago (Karachi), and then in Northern India, close to Delhi, I was surprised to notice the high predominance of red haired people but of definite Indian origin. Then I recalled the Indo-European context and our languages root in Sanscrit. Actually I believe red-hair is related to the Y chromosome´s R1b haplogroup.
    I am intrigued at it being found in America where native Americans have straight jet black hair, just like Eastern Asians.
    So a red-haired Amerindian needs to be explained.
    Since who Kennewick man was is yet to be defined and the data regarding entry of Europeans (pre-Vikings) into North America is still lacking evidence, I am following the bread crumb trail of genetic evidence which shows a high admixture of Neanderthals in American Native people, and since Neanders had red hair... the circle closes.
    thanks for posting.

  4. Thank You for answering and "following the bread crumb trail", maybe I see different directions...
    Neandi into the east mixed with earlier H.Erectus (Denisova), these are admixed in south-east-asians (+into the americas from there), but he himself did not go across the water, there is no backflow to NW-Africa from Spain.
    But where has he got his red hair ? I bet late european H.Erectus was also a whitey - and this one went to+fro across water, back to africa (+America?)
    As for the redhaired Cro-Magnon : These were highly mobile, invented dogs, livestock-herding, boating,sledging+carts very much earlier than previously thought, to be found in Egypt -15ky, in West-China from South-Germany -4-5ky, in for example North-India as Cart-People and in South-India (+"everywhere") as "the Megalith-People" by boat.
    (Ok, I believe Clovis = late Solutreans, Austronesians and pre-Neanderthalers in S-America)
    +best regards, Günther

    1. Regarding Neanderthals and boats, there is proof :

      Trans Gibraltar flow of Genes prior to Modern Humans... this paper says there is a lot of controversy and sides with the modern humans crossing it, but the case is open.

      The oldest pottery is, Asian, from Japan and China
      Some 18 Kya.

      Domesticating cattle.... China 10 Kya
      Mind you I am not sinophile
      best regards

  5. Sorry, I forgot, - to the (redhair) "solutreen-hypothesis" :
    At these times the mean sea level was 120m below nowadays, the key for the entry into America therefore is not so easy to find, but the flintknapping of Clovis is a better type of Solutreen, and there is nothing comparative in direction NE-Siberia.
    Prominent brow-ridges exist in old-australiens and are prominent in all pre-neanderthalers, correct, but Neandi himself was landlocked, sorry.

  6. Actually regarding Solutreans, take a look at the knapped stones from Patagonia fishtail points (the Clovis equivalent of Meso and South America), with a bit of overlap in Meso America differ in shape but are equal in quality and technical skills required to prepare them.
    IMHO they are all tools made by skilled humans adapted to similar environments, humans separated by thousands of kilometers but of a common African Origin, some that went to Europe, others to the Americas North - Clovis and South - other palo indians.
    The original Americans pre- homo sapiens were archaics: neanderthals or h. erectus, admixing there, in America with h. sapiens.

  7. Thank You for interest, answering+discussing
    -some points : These stone-tools in Crete came up with a minimum-dating, they can be very much older, the focus on Neanderthals is not obligatory but seafaring H.Erectus is relatively new in orthodox archäology. I bet on late H.Erectus and Pre-Neanderthals, but will nothing dismiss completely. I miss a substantial gene-flow of Neanderthals to NW-Africa in contrast to late Erectus and Pre-Neanderthals, from which african Sapiens evolved.
    Antecessor : co-occurring in Spain and Britain, in rest of Europe they came later (+not only via Asia)
    Proto-Cro-Magnons : first in Italy, Spain and Britain -45ky, in Levant they are 2-3ky later, what implicates that all these came across by boat.
    Then, suddenly, was the swabian "cultural-explosion" with works of fine art, flutes (I bet herders-flutes) : time and horsemeat superabundant -42ky.
    Later reindeer(-herders) in France and butchers-dogs in Belgium -35-30ka, beginnig of ceramic (figures only) in Czechoslovakia -25ky, immigration from here into N-Africa -25-15ky, cattle-herding........ ;-)
    Into China ? No problem.
    Into Americas ? Primitive-Cro-Magnons and/or evolved ones ? SO-Asians=Australians ? More than likely.
    Antecessor, Pre-Neanderthalers, late H.Erectus (lived in China until -30ky!) ... from here and/or Asia : also very likely (+by boat).

  8. " Spirit Cave Man" and "Kennewick Man"! The supposed caucasoids are both Amerindians, I guess that means Native Americans are now Caucasoids? Anyways, both were repatriated to their modern descendants.

  9. Genetic testing of Lovelock4 shows he was haplogroup Q-YP4004, native to Central Asia and Eastern Europe. He was Eurasian, dated to 1,800 years before present. The Amerindians of the Great Lakes area are Ancestral-B, they were mining copper in the Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale 9,600 years ago. They used copper tools to make boats that could cross the Atlantic. Lovelock4 probably had ancestors that were American, and also ancestors from Central Eurasia. At the time that Lovelock4 lived, people of Central Eurasia were known as Canaanites, their character traits were probably inherited from Eurasian Neanderthals. These are character traits that lead to slavery, warfare, human sacrifice, cannibalism, materialism, and selfish overconsumption. These traits still can be seen in many people whose ancestry can be traced back to some of the first Homo Sapiens to exit Africa on foot through the Levant, including many people of Northern European ancestry.

    “Early human dispersals within the Americas”

    “Analysis of the human Y-chromosome haplogroup Q characterizes ancient population movements in Eurasia and the Americas”

    “Q-L53(xL54) Y chromosomes have been described in Central Asia [20, 37]. Recently, Q-L53(xL54) Y chromosomes have been reported in five Eastern European subjects as belonging to the new clade Q-YP4004 (Additional file 10: Figure S4b, YTree v6.02 - Q YTree). These findings suggest that also the Central Asian Q-L53(xL54) Y chromosomes described above [37] belong to the Q-YP4004 branch. Interestingly, one ancient specimen from the Lovelock Cave in Nevada dated 1.8 ky [38] falls in this clade representing the only evidence of this lineage in America. Therefore, L53 likely originated in Central Asia and, before spreading, differentiated into Q-YP4004 and Q-L54.”


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