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, February 9, 2014

Paracas mtDNA or selling snake oil to the gullible

As usual something that might be interesting if (and this is a big if) it was studied in a serious scientific manner. Instead it is treated with the usual slapdash paranormal bunkum ways of pseudoscientists who are always trying to make a fast buck with candid suckers who buy the nonsense they put forth as "scientific".

I am interested in an early peopling of the American continent either by Homo erectus or Neanderthals. I am also keen on the idea that modern Homo sapiens entered the Americas a long time ago, shortly after leaving Africa. Clues for this could be found in the remains of ancient Paleo Indians and Indians.

Paracas mtDNA

So when I read that the mtDNA of some mummies found in Paracas, Peru by Julio Tello in 1925 had been sequenced, I was quite thrilled.

I am well aware that most people who are interested in the Paracas mummies are considered either racists or wackos (the former because they promote an "arian" peopling of America and some mad notions of white supremacy, see, for example Alexander Kemp's book on the subject), the cranks on the other hand believe in Aliens (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), Atlanteans or hybrids of some or all of the above.

A minority (which includes me) are drawn by the oddness of these Paracans, they have a Caucasian air and light colored hair (reddish, brown and even fair) which is also wavy and fine. This is in stark contrast with the typical Amerindian features of coarse black hair and, which are Mongoloid (as opposed to Caucasian). Some of their funerary masks have blue stones embedded in them, in the place of the eyes, perhaps hinting at that kind of colored eyes!

An mtDNA analysis would be of great help to trace their origin (Asia, Europe, North America), stray Greeks or Phoenicians, Romans or Vikings. There is a lot to be learned from these mummies.

Coneheads = Aliens

That is what most believe when they see a deformed Paracas skull.

Paracans are not aliens

A genuine Paracas skull, note the color of the hair.
And, a skull from Indiana Jones "Aliens" movie

But, people focus on their deformed skulls. Many American Natives deformed the skulls of their babies into an elongated form, the Paracans were no exception (New: 10.Feb.2014 See my post on this).

Getting back to the mtDNA, the museum where the mummies are kept, authorised that their mtDNA be tested, and samples were taken by an "authority" on these elongated-skulled-people, Brien Foerster, who recently revealed the findings of the "geneticist" he hired to do the tests:

"it had mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) with mutations unknown in any human, primate, or animal known so far. But a few fragments I was able to sequence from this sample indicate that if these mutations will hold we are dealing with a new human-like creature, very distant from Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans [...] I am not sure it will even fit into the known evolutionary tree"

Fake science and hot air

Well, it turns out that the "expert" Foerster, has organized his livelihood around the mummies, he wrote and writes books, organizes tours and of course is keen on keeping his business growing [2].

He chose a rather strange analyst for the tests: "The samples were sent to Lloyd Pye in the US, famous as the caretaker of the Star Child skull, who has now delivered the samples to his geneticist in Texas" [2].

Star Child is a skull found in Mexico which (some non-scientists) believe is of extraterrestrial origin. Pye is therefore not a neutral, unbiased scientist interested in gleaning a human origin from the Paracans

In case you are wondering which is the University or Renown Laboratory that did the tests (i.e. the "geneticist in Texas"), don't expect a reliable institution, no, not at all, the analysis was done by "Dr. Melba Ketchum" [3]

You will recall that Dr. Ketchum said that she had sequenced bigfoot's DNA, which turned out to be so unscientific that she had to invent her own "peer-reviewed" journal to self-publish it.

I posted on thish Bigfoot DNA sequenced? or is it some fantasy?. And concluded in a later comment: "Actually, the whole paper seems to be based on poor science, incorrect assumptions and published in an unknown online publication apparently set up to specifically host this "paper". So I am extremely skeptical about the whole subject of the DNA testing." (I was trying to be polite. The Bigfoot mtDNA is fake science based on clumsy testing and incorrect interpretation of the results).

Having said this about Dr. Ketchum's credentials on mtDNA analysis, even though the "formal" paper with the Paracas mtDNA results has not been published, I can assure you all that it will display the same kind of "science" as the Bigfoot case. They will surely come up with an Alien origin for Paracans.

The press release hints at this, calling the Paracas people "new human-like creature[s]", worse still: their mtDNA has "mutations unknown in humans, primates or animal" which, is of course impossible.


[1] Tello, Julio C. Obras completas: Paracas. Primera parte. 2005. Fondo Editorial de la Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, 2004.
[2] B. Foerster Hidden Inca Tours
[3] Sharon Hill, February 6, 2014 Foerster, Pye and Ketchum collaborate: Paracas elongated skull exposed! (UPDATE)Dobutful News

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


  1. just wondering why you say that it is impossible to find "mutations" or "Differences" unknown in humans primates or animals? It seem to me that you also need to substantiate this statement of yours.

  2. Mutations arise by chance in the mtDNA of all creatures a nucleotide is replaced by another; they tend to accumulate. One can judge branching points in lineages based on these mutations.
    To say that such mutations are unknown is misleading: it implies some extraterrestrial influence.
    Since the mtDNA of few species has been sequenced, the phrse "unknown" is a bit too strong: unknown in what sense? Being human, their mtDNA has to be related to other human mtDNA or even unrelated (such as Neanderthal) be similar. You cannot skip evolution and come up with something inrelated to its predecesors, or something unknown.
    Peer reviewed journals where data are shared are the tools of derious science, the facts have not been published or opened for discussion; this means that they must be dubious or fake.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Typo: derious is to be read as "serious"


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