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Science

The Starchild Project Claims to Have Alien Skull 266

Posted by Roblimo
from the we-need-a-science-humor-topic dept.
kid_wonder writes "Nothing better to do on a lazy fall weekened? Well, go take a look at the Alien-Human hybrid skull found over 70 years ago. Be sure to take a grain of salt along. Read their report Oh, by the way. In the next week or so DNA tests are coming back, enjoy the hype while you can!" Hey! What can I say? There's not much on TV tonight, so check it out. And if you're an extraterrestrial reading Slashdot for the first time, welcome aboard. ;-P
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The Starchild Project Claims to Have Alien Skull

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  • I was thinking plaster cast and some paint...
  • It's obviously a fake, if it were a REAL alien skull then Micheal Jackson woud own it.
  • by leonids (102892)
    Interesting.. sounds like some kiddies hooked on past x-files episodes. Particularly the hybrid part. It need not be a hoax when an alient looks like humans. There is a possibility that we evolved from them, ie they seeded life on earth, or just human life, or that they evolved from us. Maybe some distant past, we had better technology. Some disaster threatens to wipe us out, so we sent our a small group of humans out into space, with the technology to terraform and create their own society. Now they come back to see if we survived. The difference in features could be that we evolved and adapted, surviving the apocalypse. But of course, we have been seeing way too many humanoid shaped aliens these days.
  • by Yebyen (59663)
    Love how he ties alien skulls in with Open Source Software [grin].
    Dont mark me down for offtopic, I'm not in the mood to lose Karma.

  • In fact the greatest leaps in history have been made by people who dared combat the stagnant dogmas of society.

    Your statement above is most likely correct, but it has nothing to do with the authors of the text on the starchild web-site, or Erich von Däniken either for that matter--Yes I read several of his books in my teens, along with books by Zecharia Sitchin etc. Used to really like reading the stuff, and think wouldn't it be wonderful if it was true... IMHO this pinpoints the whole phenomenon quite neatly. What we are are dealing with here is not people combatting stagnant dogmas, but wishful thinkers, and dreamers that fit evidence to their theories. These guys would serve mankind much better by using their creativity to write SF.

    For those interested, here [skepdic.com] are some notes on von Däniken.

    By the way, your notion on evolution is quite correct, but science does not work according to evolution. OK, social theories, might to some extent work according to the Hegelian thesis+antithesis->synthesis paradigm (which relates somewhat to crossover in genetics), but physics, chemistry, biology etc, work to a much larger degree by testing theories against the real world by conducting experiments, and studying evidence (such as this skull). New ideas are always nice, but they bear little relevance if they neglect large bodies of evidence, or rely on heresay, falsified "evidence" etc as is often the case for "radical thinkers" such as von Däniken. Such new ideas are better classified as fantasies (or science fiction), and should be labelled as such.

    Your description of being open minded annoys me as well, open minded for me means to be open to new ideas. This is not the same as respecting everything you are told. If I tell you the sun is blue, you can still be open minded if you don't respect my claim. The majority of complaints about the alien head theory that I've read here were rejecting the claims on sound basis.

    Just think, how much of older science was blatantly wrong, or "creative". How do we look at older science today. How do you think future humans will look at OUR science?

    Yeah, who knows. But many old theories are actually used today, even though they are partly erroneous. For instance classical mechanics are taught to much more people than the more correct quantum mechanics. Other theories, such as the epicycle theory in astronomy, are used to show us how predjudice (such as the notion that the Earth is the centre of the universe) might lead us wrong. I hope, and assume that this is how our science will be used, and looked upon in the future.
  • JMP FFFF:0000 Jump to BIOS Reset.

    Sad, I still have the opcodes memorized. ;-)
  • While the article discussed genetic disorders as a cause of deformation, it did not explore other avenues of deformation: False Hellebore
    (Veratrum viride), when eaten by pregnant sheep causes the baby to be born with only one eye socket with both eyes in it! I was unable
    to find documentation on the web, but I read this (and saw a picture) doing research for a project of mine (don't ask:).

    here's a picture:
    http://www.abc.cornell.edu/plants/toxicagents/al kaloids/cyclops.html

  • From: "Quonsar The Magnificent"
    To:
    Subject: Alien Spell Check

    Sir/Madam/Elohim:

    I arrived at your web site www.rael.org feeling intrigued and curious. However, within the first 3 minutes I encountered evidence that your writer is either a moron or a victim of invasive alien probes which have severely affected his intellectual capacity.

    "reep", "questionning" and "functionning" left me to "reap" the harvest of "questioning" whether your language skills are "functioning".

    You should address this immediately. Nothing says "dumbshit alien loony site" to a visitor faster than having your site look like it was written and proofread by a dumbshit alien loony.

    Quonsar The Magnificent
    Planet Meepzorp

    ======
    "Rex unto my cleeb, and thou shalt have everlasting blort." - Zorp 3:16

  • No, a transliteration of '23' would be 'twenty three.' You mean a transposition. Fnord.
  • I find it amazing how this guy seems to accept the existence of aliens enough that he classifies them into colors. Alien Racism?

    On a more serious note though, it is rather interesting that most of this report assumes the existence of aliens and discounts evidence of congenital defects and such, based on such flimsy evidence. Many times through this article he refers to Gray Aliens, only once did I notice that he stated "What a Gray alien might look like" instead of "similarity to gray aliens". Just my $0.02.

  • You've obviously never seen 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag or whatever that bad Joe Pesci movie was. Heads CAN be gotten out of Mexico without alerting either the (overly dopey) authorities.

    Just a point - I generally don't take fictional movies as much proof of anything.


    ...phil

  • That leave at least .1% to be real right?

    Absolutely not. If this were in any way true the matter would be settled. The 99.9% you claim are false are the ones that are clearly and provably false. The other .1% are not proven to be false. They are not, however, proven to be true, either. That is an example of "converse error," which is the argument:
    1) if P then Q;
    2) Q;
    3) therefore P.
    It should be clear that this is not valid.

    This is also not a matter of probability. To assume that .1% (or any percentage) of UFO sightings are real begs the question, since you are attempting to argue that aliens exist. Assuming that UFOs are real implicitly assumes that aliens exist, and therefore invalidates such an argument. I could just as easily say that aliens do not exist, therefore no UFO sightings are real. (Now that I think about it, this would not beg the question, because while UFOs are dependent on aliens, the existance of aliens does not depend on UFOs.)

    As a closing note, I would like to mention that I do not specifically discount all possibility of extra-terrestrial life, I just reject this argument. I remain open-minded, if skeptical.
  • You neglect the possibility that the initial biological molecules on Earth did not develop here (through spontaneous biogenesis), but rather were "dropped" whether by debris or intelligent life. Unlikely, yes, but possible.

    Convergent evolution is also possible, as many examples on earth show us (I can't think of any offhand, but I'm sure a search on Google will find it pretty quick).
    ---
  • Frankly considering the problem that the skull is real or a hoax I can come only to two conclusions:
    Real: It's a human. A 100% human being with a serious genetic defect. Even a fast look to it shows that it cannot be alien. If anyone has a small knowledge on paleontologic evolution then he may guess what I'm talking about.
    Hoax: Probably the skull does not even exist. The supposed morphology of the skull highly reminds a rather common image manipulation. So it's just another child's play.

    Frankly I don't know on how to choose either conclusions. In one way such skull deformation seems to happen. A similar skull seems to exist on Kunts Kamera (St. Peterburg, Russia).
    On the other way they look quite funny on their writings. At least I know they I already violated their copyright by reading their site :).

    Really I can't understand one thing. Why most people think that aliens should have BIG skulls and small faces? Frankly get a small walk at night. Look a little bit over that blackness over there. And think that, in this Universe, every hour several civilizations are born while others die. Hard to believe? Then count how many galaxies are in the Universe...

    Well about extraterrestrials reading slashdot for the first time... Well we have been here for quite a long time. In fact we have been ALWAYS here... So what's the problem?
  • thank you for your 30 page disseration.
  • oh please, my eyeballs are like the rest of my body, they don't get any.
  • Oh, really? That's quite an incredible idea, considering that several races of Islanders were completely seperate from the rest of humanity for a _lot_ longer than the Mexican ruling "race" could possibly have been.

    And all of these races still look human/can breed with humans/etc.....(and have the same skulls..)

    I also think that the idea of another, more advanced, race on Earth might be a bit far fetched...did they live on Atlantis????

    Nevertheless, show me some independent evidence, and I'll reconsider....

    -Shane Stephens
  • We made that so called hybrid to fool Fox Mulder into thinking all those evil government plots were really alien plots.
    -----
  • IIRC diffirent highly segregated groups in society evolving along diffirent paths has occured before. In India it's possible to find genetic diffirences between diffirent castes, since members of diffirent castes did not intermarry. Royal hemophelia is a European example of a similar thing - a mutation in one member of the ruling class propagates throughout all the royal families, because they only marry themselves.
  • All I know is that I was working at JPL in Building 310 on the fourth floor when a report hit the press that JPL was "hiding UFOs in order to investigate their advanced technologies, including propulsion and computer systems in building 310."

    Funny; building 310 was not a hanger but a 4 story office building on the JPL campus. But did anyone tell the UFO folks that? Yep--but it was part of the coverup and conspiracy.

    Ah, well; feel free to ignore me as I'm obviously sent by the Government Conspiracy in order to plant Disinformation!
  • I wonder at times, why people are so quick to dismiss out of hand without the slightest degree of investigation into the validity of these people's claims.. what if Volta was so quick to listen to the people laughing at his experiments?

    True - lots of these UFO/alien things are likely hoaxes, misconceptions or outright lies. But they should be given at least the benefit of the scientific method, and if they can't be explained, they should be marked as such.

    Even the US government's "Blue Book" studies found some really interesting cases that they couldn't explain away, but these were outright ignored.

    Lots of people believe in life in the universe, but people have a hard time believing that it could come here. Hell, our own physisists have demonstrated it's only an engineering problem to "warp" through space - one hell of an engineering problem, but possible nothingless. What would that be to a civilization just 1000 more years advanced than us?

    I recommmend reading anything by Stanton T. Friedman, who presents excellent balenced analsyses of documents and paper trails produced by US government organizations - and comes up with some compelling possibilities.

    Give science a chance, eh.

    Kudos..

  • *kicks her crappy modem*

    Despite the long load time, this page is really informative. Some of these skull deformities are just as severe as what could have caused the "alien" skull, but are most definitely human.
  • Why not try and track down the rest of the skeleton? If it had been found, and it was non-human, we probably would have heard of it by now. If it hasn't been found, then can't we figure out where the caves are and search them? And, of course, if the rest has been found, and it's completely human, then it's obviously either a human skull or a hoax.
    This is, of course, assuming that the story of how the skulls were found is true, which, quite honestly, I'd say is doubtful, given the scientific processes by which the "scientists" arrived at the conclusion that the skull is at least partially non-human.
    But a DNA test will help determine whether it's human, or another hominid...
  • Nice reflections shiny skull. Can one say raytrace.
  • ought to have his head examined :-)
  • They aren't aliens. They are what humans will elvolve into. Most of 'em are just boring historians checking out the past with thier time machines. (What the hell it makes as much sense as most of this UFO BS)
  • So if you consider the orginal statement that myths such as changelings are based on deformed humans, you're now saying that the changeling myth is based on humans who were grossly and horribly disfigured to look like... humans? ARGHH!!
  • Read their analysis. They try to use "Gray" aliens to explain the skeleton found and its similarities. When differences arise they try and explain them away..i.e. the skeleton had teeth and a mandible which indicates a mouth but the grey aliens communicate telepathically and so human abductees were not able to detect their mouths etc...lots of junk like this in the report which should have been unbiased if it were to be believable.
  • My objection stands that even if DNA is a universal genetic code, there are problems.

    Panspermia is an interesting hypothesis, and the process of testing it will reveal a lot about life and how it works. With an appropriate combination of raw materials and the right conditions, it's possible to make DNA and RNA. Whether those raw materials were present and whether those conditions held is an open question. If it holds true, then DNA could have developed on any planet moderately like earth.

    But if that's true, a lot has happened in 3.5 billion years. To suggest that the particular skeleton common to all terrestrial vertebrates would evolve on other planets is unlikely, but if there is some advantage to that body plan, perhaps it would have happened by convergent evolution. But to suggest that the particular sutures in the skull are that adaptive is stretching it, and to suggest that the dominant "vertebrates" on other planets have 46 chromosomes is nigh impossible. The variation in chromosome numbers within mammals is huge, and is non-trivial within some genera.

    So I argue that even if the greys are really DNA based, the chances of them having a genetic structure even close to humans is close enough to 0 that I'll ignore it.

    I reject the time travel hypothesis as a massive violation of Occam's razor. I'm no physicist, but I've taken it as given that time travel was impossible, or at least impossible to survive. If I'm wrong, fine. But no need to invoke time travelling people from the future when perfectly good genetic defects will do.

    I neglected to post a reference for my claim that humans and chimps can't hybridize, and I think I found what I was thinking of. I saw it in a Lary Gonick cartoon in some magazine way back when, but I think this reference is the original.

    Sunny Luke and Ram S Verma, "Human (Homo sapiens) and chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) share similar ancestral centromeric alpha satellite DNA sequences but other fractions of heterochromatin differ considerably," American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 96(1). 1995. 63-71.

    In particular, the abstract notes "Furthermore, cross-hybridization experiments using chromosomes of gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) and orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) suggest that the alphoid repeats of human and great apes are highly conserved, implying that these repeat families were present in their common ancestor. Nevertheless, the orangutan's chromosome 9 did not cross-hybridize with human probe."

    So not Pan troglodytes, but close.
  • Yes, it was used in that box-office bomb, 'House II', as a plot device. ;)
  • Piltdown Man
  • They mention both DNA tests and carbon dating.

    Carbon dating, AFAIK, is remotely accurate only when you're talking at least on the order of thousands of years ago.

    DNA, on the other hand, is not necessarily intact for that period of time, unless it's protected from exposure... at least that's the impression I've got.

    So how old do they think it is?
  • Yes, but even between these two extremely similar branches of the evolutionary tree (if I remember first year biology correctly), there are big differences - for instance, part of a reptile's jaw bone became our middle-ear bones (malleus, stapes, incus???). So there you go!

    As to the rest of your comment, I agree with you wholeheartedly!

    The perpetrators of this ... web page ... themselves admit the striking similarities between the human skull and the starchild skull. They discuss in detail the fact that many blood vessels and nerves follow the same path. They mention that the same bones are present. The tone suggests that the similarities FAR outweigh the differences.

    There can only be two potential conclusions based on this -

    1) the starchild skull evolved on Earth. The likelyhood of a skull that evolved on a completely different planet (presumably with a completely different evolutionary tree) having such striking similarities with a human skull is extremely small!

    2) the starchild skull isn't actually a real skull (ie it's a hoax of some kind). Considering that there's no independant testimonies claiming to have seen the skull, I would suggest that this is a significant possibility!

    -Shane Stephens


  • by PovRayMan (31900) on Saturday November 13, 1999 @02:04PM (#1535435) Homepage
    Some human bodies have had deformed bones caused by disease. Isn't it quite possible this THING could just be a deformed human skull? It could very well be a hoax as well.

    -PovRayMan

  • i think we're talking past each other on this one -- I never suggested that columbus was right in his thinking, only that he had "the courage to actually go out and trust that he was right", and that's what led to his discovery.

    Suggesting that people shouldn't get full credit for accidental discoveries is stingy. So penecillin was no big deal because "someone would have discoveed it eventually".

    As an artist, I see a version of this all the time, when people say "my kid could draw that". The point is, that your kid DIDN'T. being the second person to do something is not a big deal, and beating up on the first is a little too easy...
  • Another example is brain volume, which in a normal human is around 1400 cubic centimeters (cc). The Starchild's brain volume, contained inside a cranium the size of a smallish human's, is 1600 cc. How can this be possible?

    sort of reads like the essay Stephen J Gould wrote about debunking experiements earlier this century wrt race, intellegence and brain capacity.

    Can 't remember which essay it was from. Instead check out his bibliography at amazon,
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/Author=Gould%2C% 20Stephen%20Jay/002-1147117-2205804


  • And then again, he never suggested that Columbus not get credit for his discovery. What he said is that people give Columbus way too much credit. Which is certainly true when he's being grouped into the category of genius because he had this inane idea about how far west he'd have to sail to get to Japan. The guy was wrong. The guy had no clue what he was doing, and if he hadn't ran smack dab into America so soon, he would've been toast. Does this mean he discovered America? Yeah, okay, sure. I'll accept that. Does he get credit it for then? Well, sure, he discovered it. He gets a Holiday named after him and everything. Does this make him a genius? No. It makes him a guy who had an idea and was either ballsy or stupid enough to test it out.

    Your penicillin example isn't exactly analogous. The accidental discovery of the fungus is one thing; that Fleming knew enough to realize he had something in that fungus and apply it to a variety of situations certainly lends some justification to "genius", were anyone to describe him as such.

    Oh, and when someone says, "My kid could draw that," whether or not it was done first or not is moot. The point they are making, and the point you, as an artist, are obligated to miss, is, "Why should I pay for something my kid can draw?" Hmm? Because it's done by a professional artist? Bah!

  • If aliens on earth have evaded detection
    (except by late-night radio talk show hosts
    and their ilk) it must be because they value
    their privacy.
    I think we should respect that, and leave them alone.
    If the *want* attention, a physics textbook
    would convince me fast.
  • My point exactly.
  • Check out the slashdot archives. There was an article this summer that reduced the amount of negative matter required to build a so-called "warp bubble" from the size of a neutron star to approximately one gram. Of course, how to produce this and implement the theory is an exercize for the reader...

    While not "solved" - the theory looks sound, and (I believe) has been peer reviewed.

    For your viewing pleasure:

    http://slashdot.org/articles/99/05/27/1215204.shtm l

    The body of evidence on UFO's is really compelling when you start researching. And I don't mean the psycho abductees - although, who's to say they're lying - but claims from on duty police and military officials, and not just joe blows on the street.

    The roswell case is the most facinating - and from what I've read - most notibly Stanton Friedman's book "Crash at Corona", and might I add, this is a nuclear physisist with some very impressive credentials, including research for the US Governement - has some excellent points and analysis based on governement paperwork, and is presented in a manner that leaves it up to you to decide what went down.

    Very little isn't possible with sufficiently advanced technology. We're just beginning to understand the universe, and people sometimes forget just how _mind numbingly_ huge the universe is. I'm reminded of the torture in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy where you get shown how insignifigant you are.. :) The infinity vortex or something.. but I digress.

    Kudos...

  • " thrived until its death "

    " series of photographs taken in 1975 ... since this evidence is so new "

    Sorry the whole thing reminds me of that bizarre Celestine Prophecy craze of a few years ago. I mean Starchild? Forbidden Places? Aztec Temples?

    Llyod Pye's site has a plug for his book, some of his arguments seem annoyingly compelling although all his principles are unsubstantiated. (or unsubstantiable).

    Anyway, desperate to refute something I came across the story of the planet Nibiru. Nibiru has an elliptic orbit of period 3500 years during which it is somewhere between Mars and Alpha Centauri. As with comets this planet would spend less than 1 year in the inner solar system. Apparantly the beings of this planet came to earth to mine gold to " repair their atmosphere. "
    My question is, on a planet where nitrogen would exist as snow 99% of the time, who cares about atmospheres? Huh? Huh?

    To contribute against the Starchild project, please send a donation to

    G.P.O. Box 123456

    Brisbane, Qld
  • An alien-human hybrid is certainly unlikely but not because of the reason you've given.

    The "primordial soup" experiments proposed independently by Oparin and Haldane 70 years ago and conducted over the last 50 years by Miller, Ponnamperuma and many others did prove one thing. Just about any aqueous mixture of dissolved gases including Carbon and Nitrogen, energized by just about any energy source including heat, UV light or electrical discharge, will result in the chemicals that are employed as the building blocks of biochemistry on this planet.

    Amino acids, sugars, lipids, purines and pyrimidines have all been synthesized under a wide range of conditions including those currently thought to have prevailed on this planet around the time the first life forms appeared.

    When such a mixture is allowed to react for a longer period of time, peptides, polysaccharides, phospholipids, nucleotides and even nucleosides are formed. Under hospitable conditions which allow the concentration of the reactants, such as in the presence of the correct catalysts (quite prosaic substances such as clay will do) these have been encouraged in the lab to form short proteins, complex sugars, and even short ribonucleic and deoxyribonucleic acid chains.

    It's quite possible that other simple organic molecules could be used to build persistent metabolising structures - and implement a genetic code thus enabling reproduction - but don't forget it took a very long time for the first lief to evolve. There would have been ample opportunity for other chemical systems to establish themselves. The fact that RNA and DNA alone have inherited the Earth with no known exceptions tends to suggest that it is by far the most efficient method. If there were any organisms based on another system they have perished without leaving any descendants. Presumably they were eaten by, or out-reproduced by, their nucleic acid counterparts.

    Of course it's possible that on other planets the general nucleic acid structure may be the same but that different bases may be employed. However the same argument applies. What was to stop these alternative genetic alphabets appearing here? They probably did appear alongside the familiar one, but couldn't compete.

    In any case the genetic alphabet on Earth is bigger than most people realise. Most high-school students know that the DNA code is written with the bases Guanine, Adenine, cytosine and Thymine, and RNA is written in the same code except that Thymine is replaced by Uracil (the other difference is that in DNA each moeity of the sugar phosphate backbone is missing an oxygen atom). This is, however, an oversimplification. There are other purines and pyrimidines present in the RNA and DNA found in living terrestrial organisms. Mostly these are formed by the addition of some small radical (eg by methylation). Any variations must be quite small because nucleic acid's stability is due entirely to the geometry of the molecule. If one of these bases is replaced by something else too different even in one small spot then the two strands of the helix will unravel spontaneously. It's been proposed that the variations that do exist are precisely for this purpose, eg. methylating a specific base in order to unwind the helix at that location, thus exposing a particular gene to polymerase and thereby "switching on" that gene.

    To sum up: given that these chemicals are spontaneously produced under a wide range of simple conditions, even on laboratory timescales, and that no other analogous systems have survived on Earth over geological timescales, it's a good bet that if life evolves on other planets with a chemistry anywhere near similar to Earth's, it will employ RNA or DNA or something almost identical.

    Of course, there's a world of difference even between a squid and a whale from the same planet. And eukaryotic chromosomes contain more than just DNA; the familiar blobby "X" shapes you see on photomicrographs are formed as the DNA helix winds in a very complex way around scaffold proteins called histones, and although DNA polymerases from any source ought to work, the enzymes and cell structures supporting mitotic and meiotic division are particular to the chromosomal structure itself.

    Thus, on a chromosomal level, cellular reproductive machinery has a much larger number of elements than the genetic code, and a much less regular structure. Earth eukaryotes are far far less likely to be similar to their extraterrestrial analogues on this level. Certainly any differences would make even a single hybrid cell unviable (it wouldn't be able to undergo division).

    Even if this weren't so, and an alien species had evolved a perfectly human-compatible chromosome structure, there is the matter of the precise number and size of the chromosomes. If they didn't match up exactly a hybrid might still be created artificially. But even then, the resulting organism would have two completely independent sets of metabolic pathways present. The opportunities for these complex biochemical systems to interfere with each other would be numerous to say the least. It's highly likely that a significant proportion of these interactions would be deleterious.

    So, even though aliens are likely to have DNA, there will be no alien-terrestrial hybrids. Sorry Mr Spock (and Mr Worf), but you can't exist.

    PS. I apologise for the length of this posting but there's been a lot of groundless speculation and it seemed a good idea to inject some relevant information into the debate. Congratulations to the few who had the patience to read this far. I bet those of you who did are all biochem geeks anyway ;o)

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • "But what about Squids / Octopi / Starfish / other non bilaterally symmetric creatures? "

    They aren't?? hmm.. that just depends on how you cut them I guess.. ;-)

    For a Squid, cut him down from the middle the tail, down through the body, leave 6 tentacles on each side, cutting right though that little protruding thingy ( OK Im no marine biologist ) ta da you have 2 symmetric sides

    Same deal with Octopi. just leave 4 tentacles.

    And ok, now, what says you can't just cut one of those 5 legs of a starfish in half, when you cut it, and ta da, 2 even sides..

    Sorry just think about your examples a little better ;-)

  • I did say that I wouldn't be surprised if this turned out to be little more than a deformity, didn't I? I thought so.

  • Where are the cheesy photos? At least the electro magnetic page had cheesy photos. Who else laughed at that besides me. Why are people so pathetic? I think its crack or being kicked by a mule as a kid, what do you think? Is common sense the lost art?

  • That's selling him short -- what he had was the courage to actually go out and trust that he was right -- on penalty of death.

    It's one thing to "know" the earth is round, it's entirely another to be the guy to sail it first, despite having your crew on the brink of mutiny because they think you're going to kill them all.

    It's like saying Neil Armstrong and other astronauts are no big deal, because they "knew" they'd be fine. No matter how many times you work it out on the slide rule, going into space with nothing but a millimeter of gold foil to keep your guts from blasting out your eyes is not a matter of luck, and neither is sailing over a horizon no one has ever returned from before...
  • Not that I'm compelled to believe any of the UFO stuff -- nothing's made me really think about it being possible, yet -- but there is a major flaw in your argument. Specifically, the implication that, given all other stages of development were equal, technological development would go at the same pace as it did on Earth. It's entirely conceivable that a sentient people were first born a thousand years after us, but hit the high technology jackpot three thousand years before us. Even further, one of the fundamental aspects of your (I would hope) troll is your determination of so-called "alien technology" being only a few hundred years ahead of us. I fail to see how technological advancement can be gauged from what little "eyewitness" reports have told. And, further, how to gauge the technological advancement of a separate, alien species which, though it would have to evolve in a very similar setting as the setting in which we evolved, is ultimately a different environment that has been historically populated by different people. It's impossible, based upon all of the variables for someone to state that this IS or ISN'T possible.

    Which is also the fundamental reason for "UFOlogy" not being taken seriously from a scientific standpoint. What aspects of it are not sensationalism, are not provable or disprovable by scientific means. It's one part untestable, two parts sensationalist propaganda. The latter parts take the first part as a given, and trumpet it as proof of some sort. Well, I can't, by science alone, prove that someone won't give you four hundred and fifty billion dollars exactly 6 seconds after you've read this. But what does that mean? Certainly not that it's going to happen. Just that there exists some chance of it, which, in my estimation, is so close to zero, it may as well be zero. And until there exists some truly compelling evidence that makes me believe otherwise, I will continue to dismiss that possibility.

    This "alien/human hybrid" skull is certainly not the evidence that will make me start believing in "visitors." A cursory examination tells me its the skull of a tragically, and seriously deformed human being. If the DNA tests show something spetacular, then we can talk about it being an alien.

  • You can date wood samples, accurately to the year and the season, by counting the rings. By overlaying the rings from different samples from different trees (different trees in the same area face the same varations in climate, which shows up in the ring patters). These records often go back several tousands of years. If the skull is older than that, it surely is an interesting find, but not for reasons of extraterrestrial origin.
    By including other organic samples from the finding site, like (fossil) pollen, pupae etc, that are often only found a few weeks in a year, You CAN sometimes date an ancient organic sample accurately to within a few weeks.
    This is not the only method of determining the C12/14 ratio in a given period, but just one example I could think of without getting my books.

    There is no need to 'estimate' the half-life of carbon-14. Radioactive decay can be measured extremely accurately, and stays constant over time. The margin of error in measuring the C-14 content is in the chemical analysis, not in the method. By increasing the size of the sample, the accuracy can be improved a lot. The usfulness of this ends, when you've ground up and analysed the entire skull :-)
    -----
  • A cursory examination tells me its the skull of a tragically, and seriously deformed human being."

    Exactly.

    I have seen dozens of skulls like this in med school textbooks. C'mon people- put your thinking caps on.
  • One more thing- as I get back to the /. homepage, I see this stupid ass piece associated with the visage of Einstein. PT Barnum or Rupert Murdoch would be more appropriate.
  • Occam's razor.

    Is an alien skull realy the simplest hypothesis, the one which requires us to make the least further theories to explain the phenomenon? (Assuming it's not a hoax just to get our hard earned readies.)

    I think not.

  • Sorry, but anyone who sights the Fox "Alien Autopsy" hoax (which even FOX admitted was a hoax lasty year) as support for their position has pretty much blown their credibility. More info on which can be found at: http://www.fxsupply.com/features/autopsy.html - Lawrence Person
  • Wouldn't we first have to check to see how prevelant life is in the Universe before taking this as conclusive? What if we explored a large portion of the Universe and found that only this star system and a few near-by ones had life. And all of those life forms had DNA? Then we'd have to be suspicious of cross contamination.

    If only the supreme being had left us some sort of message. Like that (rather dumb) episode of ST:TNG.
  • Well scientists basically assume that the fundamental laws of physics exist unchanged throughout the universe. A planet here exudes the same gravitational pull as an identical planet on the other side of the universe.

    It's also fairly obvious that humans are very different from every other life form on this planet in that we have consciousness, free will, language, and other such blessings/curses. The qualities which separate us from the animals on our planet are probably strikingly similar to the qualities that other intelligent life on other planets from their relative subversive species.

    If laws of physics remain true throughout the universe, one would assume laws of genetics would remain similarly constant, and then could infer that there is a set "recipe" for intelligent life.

    It's not too far-fetched to believe (assuming, hypothetically, the existence of extra-terrestrial life is already established) that intelligent alien species could be genetically similar and biologically compatible with homo sapiens. If donkeys and horses, two visually similar creatures, can mate and breed a mule, I see no reason why humans and grays could not successfully mate and form a (possibly sterile) hybrid creature.

  • The reason that horses and donkeys can mate is that they are genetically related, not visually. As much as bat and a bird might be visually similar, they'll never mate. Neither would a marsupial wolf ever mate with a placental wolf. As I said above, there may be real constraints on what characters intelligent life must have, but that doesn't imply that all intelligent life can interbreed, any more than the similar constraints on the characters necessary for flying animals makes bats capable of breeding with birds.

    The distinction I'm making is that between convergent evolution and relative monophyly. You could also think of it as being genetically related versus ecologically related. Just because you see some guy walking down the street that looks just like your dad doesn't mean that when he dies, you'll get any inheritance. Similar appearances can be generated by widely different genetic structures.

    So your claim that there might be some "recipe for intelligent life" might be correct, but that recipe would be in the ecological realm, not the genetic.

    Your comparison between physical laws and genetic laws is false because the rules of genetics that we know of may not hold for all life in the universe. DNA and carbon based bodies are common on earth, and those building blocks imply a particular mode of cell replication and genetic replication. If other molecules were used to pass on information between generations, the rules that we use on earth make no sense. Gravity is a characteristic of matter (or matter with mass, or something). Mendelian genetics are a character of the particular way that terrestrial life developed very early on.

    Another way to look at it is to consider what is known of the evolution of humans. In order for humans to evolve, it was necessary that primates exist in an area where large brains, tool making and learning were seletive. Without that, the step from chimp to human need not have occured.

    But the presense of apes implies that mammals evolved. The rise of mammals was a result of the extinction of the dominant taxa of the time due to a completely random event. Had an asteroid not struck Earth near the Yucatan Peninsula when it did, who's to say what life would look like now. See Dougal Dixon's The New Dinosaurs for one suggestion. But what if sea levels where higher for longer? Reptiles may never have had an advantage over amphibians if dry land were less extensive, so the reptile families that evolved into birds and mammals may never have evolved, and one day an intelligent frog would discover an alien signal with his SETI@home screensaver.

    Could a modern human mate with that frog?

    Can a modern human mate with a modern frog?

    Genetic change builds up by random mutations. The number the random mutations that lead to the flora and fauna of the modern world and each species in it is huge. To replicate that would be close enough to impossible that it can be ignored in any universe with finite inhabited planets and finite time.
  • This story was heard recently on the Art Bell radio show...his main objective is to GET MONEY,in his case advertisers to stay on the air.Is it a co-incidence that the only help they ask for is to SEND MONEY at the end of the article?they are not asking for additional researchers,or contributions of anything but money.The whole thing amounts to a sales pitch,to get you to send money to help with the identification of the alien skull..and,as evidenced by the pictures,is it a co-incidence that the mandibular area is missing as well as the lower jaw?
  • There are other, less stable radioactive isotopes to use for dating...
  • There happens to be about two million years of differentiation between us and bonzo the chimp as well, granted if aliens exist, there ain't no way in hell their particular version of the primordial soup and darwins grab bag is going to mesh with ours

  • An extra-terrestrial origin of life is not entirely implausible (although the way they espouse it is). If life evolved first on Mars or elsewhere, bacteria might have hitched a ride to Earth on a meteorite. If we ever find life on Mars this will be one of the more interesting questions to try to answer. Of course it could have happened the other way or not at all.

    That is not to say that intelligent manipulation of life on earth is impossible, just that we have no good evidence of it. It is somewhat interesting to imagine acts of God documented in the Bible in terms of alien manipulation into human affairs, particularily the Old Testament. Burning bush, Jacob's ladder etc. In some ways it is more appealing than a spiritual view, since it doesn't require the violation of any laws of physics. But it is obviously less spiritually satisfying, or terrifying, or unnecessary explanation, depending on tyour point of view.
    --
  • There have been serveral "indian" tribes in the world that changed the shape of the human head(starting at birth), because they thought it looked better.
    It's not wierder than the people that stretches the necks, because they think it looks better.
    Or the people in china that wraps the feet of the female children to keep the them small as the bodies grow.
    All of these things might seam freaking wierd and cruel, but who are we to say so...
  • "what if DNA is some sort of universal structure that exists in all living things, including aliens?"

    And what if DNA is just something incidentally developed here on Earth. Nothing says that all life MUST use DNA. DNA just describes a bunch of enzymes. We could be just one of the myriad ways life could be constructed. Remember, "life" is little more than automated reproduction. Biological viruses only barely skirt the definition of life (not sure why). If, for example, we find some strange gaseous phenomenon out in space which develops and replicates itself, then it would not be invalid to call it "life". Let's not limit the way we think about life to the way biological creatures are constructed on earth.
  • If you want to find explanations of biblical events by alien visitation I suggest you read Zecharia Sitchin's Earth Chronicles.

    Biologists are finding every day, more and more organisms living in environments we had no clue things could live in before. If we find just one speck, just one microbe, just one bacteria, anywhere that blows the whole thing open. If we find just one thing, it will be inevitable that extraterrestrial life either has evolved intelligence before, is intelligent now, or will be intelligent in the future. Io is a big sphere of ice, but observations show cracks which could possibly be formed by thawed underwater. If this is so, this would be a perfect candidate for life. Venus has a surface temperature over the boiling point of water. Life could still exist on it.
  • That's selling him short -- what he had was the courage to actually go out and trust that he was right -- on penalty of death.

    No, you don't get it. Columbus wasn't right and taking a risk, he was wrong and taking a risk. If America had not been there, Columbus would have starved to death before he reached Asia. Sure, he had courage -- but he was also one luck dumb bastard.

    The equivalent was not going to the moon. It would be believing the moon was only five hundred miles up and lucking into an asteroid to land on before you didn't have enough fuel to turn around and get home.

    You see, the circumference of the Earth was known to within 1% by Western Europeans of the fifteenth century, having been determined by the Greeks in classical times and having been transmitted to Western Europe by the Muslims when they invaded Spain.

    So, the educated knew that Columbus was on a fool's errand, since China could only be reached by traveling tens of thousands of miles of sea if you sailed west. With no know islands past the Azores, that journey would be both expensive to provision and have no speed advanatges over the new around-Africa route.

    Columbus, however, thought Japan was 3500 miles west of Spain and China was only 1500 miles past that. That would have been a fast route to Asia -- it was also idiocy. 5000 miles wast from Spain isn't China, it's Nebraska. You'd still have thousands of miles to go.

    Fortunately for Columbus, while he didn't reach Japan when he went 3500 miles west, there was a contiental landmass there for him to stumble into. Otherwise he would have starved to death at sea.

    And his crew weren't worried about falling off the edge of the world. What they were worried about was that they didn't have the provisions to go much further west and still return home. That was why they were on the brink of mutiny -- if they hadn't stumbled across America, the choice was to either turn around soon or die from starvation.

    Anyway, Vasco de Gamma was blown off course on a trip to the Horn of Africa in 1500 and accidentally landed in Brazil. Such errors were actually likely given the nature of the fast out-and-down route around Africa to India. So Columbus's courage and stupidity did change history, but America would have been discovered by accident within a century anyway.
  • A teenage girl, sneaks out of the house, goes cave exploring all on her own, and finds a hybrid human/alien skull. Hmmmm. Now, how did she hide this little gem. I can't even go home once a year without my mother going "Are you still smoking young man, I should make you eat those cigarettes..." Now, imagine what my mom would say if she suspected me with a alien/human hybrid skull hidden under my bed...Hmmmm
  • "After all, it's hard to fake something like a skull. You'd need to have a cheap way of forming convincing bone tissue, find a way to age it, and break it in a way that looks natural..."

    ...or PhotoShop...
  • Well, that's a rather flammable post.

    In fact there is a wealth of documentation on governments' and military responses to strange phenomenon. It might not be aliens per say...but it's weird sh*t for sure. E.g. funky /traceable/ objects on radar which make precise >90 degree turns at over Mach 3...that is not usual...weather balloons also don't do that. With the history of government cover-ups, etc., it is not hard to believe that governments know more than they are telling the public (search for MAJIC, MAJESTIC, Blue Book). Something is uncanny...if it's not aliens, then it's something else equally weird.

    And remember, MS is not the only one who knows how to use FUD. Big brother has been doing it for decades ;)
  • by paxx (91110) on Saturday November 13, 1999 @02:13PM (#1535503)
    It seems that any unexplainable occurrence these days is blamed on some form of mysterious alien beings. There has to be some better explanation to this than a fight between two alien races on our humble planet.

    It seems to me that these creatures, whatever they may be, are a bit too humanoid to come from some distant planet/star/galaxy/whatever. Another thing, why would an alien culture leave only two embassadors with only one culture on our planet, alone and without the ability to contact their own people? And why would another alien culture come all the way to our planet to kill the two other beings and then just leave?

    Any culture advanced enough to reach Earth would spend a bit more time on it, and we would most likely still be in contact with them. Even the most barbaric of cultures would spend a bit more time at least studying a sentient culture they came in contact with. Sentient beings like us and these two supposed alien cultures are too few and far between.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 13, 1999 @02:14PM (#1535507)
    "First post"...
  • Where does this 'carbon dating is inaccurate' rumour come from? For dating relatively recent organic material it can sometimes be incredibly accurate, because by examining old wood samples (and other things you can date accurately to withing a few weeks) you know exactly what the levels of carbon-14 in a certain area were in a given year and season.

    DNA does not have to be intact to use it for identifying a species. To analyse the DNA you will chop it to tiny pieces anyway. It does have to be intact if you want to make a clone. This is a serious obstacle in the way of cloning a wooly mammoth or an egyptian pharao. You have plenty of DNA, but it's broken in tiny pieces.
    -----
  • by Rob Bos (3399) on Saturday November 13, 1999 @02:19PM (#1535527) Homepage
    ..I see no one so far has mentioned the impossibility - the inconceivability that DNA could possibly exist in a life form with a completely different development. DNA is an enourmously complex, enourmously intricate molecule that's developed over the course of billions of years to store the information that makes up an arbitrary lifeform in Earth biology -- the chances of something even remotely similar showing up in an alien biology are simply not conceivable. And don't even get me started on human-alien hybrids.
  • Unfortunately, these types of stories can't be investigated using the scientific method because they consist of unverifiable and unrepeatable data. Imagine if I told you that someone else's closed source software crashed and as proof produced a photograph of this program supposedly crashing your computer. How much science can I do? Perhaps I could analyze the photograph, but there's no way to ascertain how that error message appeared on your screen.

    I can't verify your claims with the amount of data you have; that's understandable, because you don't always have a way to produce proof and even if you did, you might not have it with you when this crash occurs. I can't reproduce your results; that's understandable, because this is not a regular event that you observed, and it's impossible to exactly replicate the circumstances under which it happened.

    So there's not much science to be done. You can't use the scientific method to prove that the crash happened, and I can't use the scientific method to prove that it didn't. So why waste time over it?

  • by haggar (72771) on Saturday November 13, 1999 @02:22PM (#1535532) Homepage Journal
    They are here [starchildproject.com]





  • I remember reading an article in scientific american where they talked about some weird disease which made the bones grow forever (at least, until death!), so that the skull would become several centimeters thick, the spine would solidify completely ... and actually one viking king suffered of it, and the legend says that he survived a hit by a huge two-handed sword on the head ... well upon examination of his skeleton, this is not a legend, there inded was a mark of the hit on his skull.

    The point? The cranium looked mostly like the picture on www.starchildproject.com, except for the fact that the eye balls' orbit looked different, but it makes sense to assume that the disease could evolve as shown on the website.

    What fascinates me the most about conspiracy theorist is the fact that there's ALWAYS simpler, less far fetched, less absurd ways to explain the 'weird' events, but they always choose the craziest explanation. An ET ... yeah right.

  • That's the name of the anomaly I'm talking about. Also it could just be hydrocephaly, a common anomaly (poet Baudelaire suffered from it) where liquid accumulates inside the skull from early childood, causing the skull (soft at birth) to grow. It's now cured by ... drilling a hole!
  • what if DNA is some sort of universal structure that exists in all living things, including aliens? do you think aliens are carbon-based organisms? do you think aliens breath oxygen? these are the things that we don't know about yet. so you can't say that it's inconceivable for aliens to be similar to us.
  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Saturday November 13, 1999 @02:35PM (#1535538)
    Why is it that only masters of flakiness like Lloyd Pye and Stan Friedman ever come across UFO artifacts and all sorts of proof fit for the Fox network??

    Probably because when most people find some interesting crap they don't cry "UFO" without thinking which suddenly propels them into the well-paying hype machine.

    Their theory is based on little more than modern UFO lore mixed in with a kind of Scientologist cosmology. I'm sure whatever results they get back with quickly be assimilated into a new UFO theory, cause, hey its real! Nothing like pseudo-science to keep you from disappointment.

    "Unfortunaty when the mothership does land, George Clinton and Bootsy Collins will be the only ones aboard."



  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Saturday November 13, 1999 @02:43PM (#1535541)
    Sure, a lot of great minds have been laughed at, but out of all thepeople that have been laughed at, greatness must be .000000001%.

    The hunt for UFOs is the modern version of the hunt for the elixir of life or turning lead to gold.

    Obligatory: Newton was an alchemist. Not that thats why we remember him.

  • by jgrr (103745) <j-rosenau-11@alumni.uchica g o . edu> on Saturday November 13, 1999 @02:43PM (#1535542) Homepage
    What I find hard to believe is the concept of an alien/human hybrid.

    Even granting that aliens are visiting earth and abducting people, how are they impregnating anyone? I mean, assuming what we know about the origins of life on earth is fairly true, there's no reason to think that ETs would have DNA. And if they did, why would it be compatible with human DNA? Chimps, our nearest relative based on genetic and morphological analyses, could not produce a hybrid with humans, so why would aliens be able to?

    Other questions are, would an alien have a skeleton like a human's? While one could argue that the development of DNA as a genetic material could be widespread, it is harder to argue that the particular skeletal arrangement of modern vertebrates would have developed on a different planet, down to the details of how the skull sutures form. And if the aliens don't have that structure, why do their hybrids?

    There are a couple of parts to the scientific method. One is that one ought not to just reject things you disagree with, but should offer evidence. OTOH, that evidence can be from theory, and that leads you to another important part of science: Occam's razor. If it is necessary that we discard all that we know about life on earth to explain a skull, then people are going to expect the evidence supporting the hybrid origin of the skull to be very strong.

    So what I'm saying is that the evidence available suggests that this child had some congenital defect that produced a very strange skull morphology. Without an alien to give a paternity test to, it'll be pretty hard to get evidence that will make anyone willing to toss a lot of sound theory out.

    People might rightly point out that many true theories were dismissed like this, but I would remind you that a lot more wrong ones were rejected this way.
  • by Imperator (17614) <slashdot2@NOspaM.omershenker.net> on Saturday November 13, 1999 @02:48PM (#1535544)
    I may not be an authoritative source on the matter, but from what I know about the evolution of life on Earth, it's very unlikely that alien species (even carbon-based, oxygen-respirating ones) have DNA at all like ours. Yes, it's quite possible that they have some sort of genetic material (that is, material carrying the information needed to recreate the organism (though even DNA on Earth (and not every organism on Earth has DNA (many only have RNA (setq e 2.718))))), but the idea that it can be analyzed in the same way as terrestrial DNA is ridiculous. (Of course there's a chance, but the probability is negligible.)
  • Sure, a lot of great minds have been laughed at, but out of all thepeople that have been laughed at, greatness must be .000000001%.

    "The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown" - Carl Sagan
  • There's a possibility it could be a badly deformed human, sure. I doubt it, though. I'm more inclined to believe that it's either an alien or a hoax, though.

    Take a look at the pictures of the skull (and the forensic rending) on their site. The shape of this skull is amazingly like that of the "Gray" aliens everyone seems to be abducted by. There's two trains of thought you could follow here:

    One: The skull is a hoax. After all, if you're going to make up something like this, why not use the most popular form?

    Two: (and this is the one I'm more inclined to believe, based on the information I've seen) The skull is alien, or at least not human. After all, it's hard to fake something like a skull. You'd need to have a cheap way of forming convincing bone tissue, find a way to age it, and break it in a way that looks natural...

    If it's proven that this skull is little more than a malformed human, I won't be terribly surprised. The conincidental shape would be amazing, but I suppose anything is possible. I'm far more inclined to believe, however, that the skull is non-human in nature.

  • What would radiocarbon dating say? How old is that skull they have?

    There are problems with this kind of inquiry: (1) if it's a deformity there's no way to convince believers of that; (2) if it's really an "alien" or "hybrid" (cough cough, ahem) then they aren't proceeding as scientists would (calling it the "Starchild Project" and otherwise stating their bias toward it being alien; (3) we have no way of finding other anthropological evidence to back up any claim of this kind; and (4) we have too many absolute believers and also too many absolute skeptics--we need some moderates who will look for whatever the truth might be. We have many more questions than answers here.

    But still. I admit that more than occasionally I get the feeling that we are just pawns in a larger game, or that we are lab monkeys in some massive lab. Doesn't anyone else think that, too?

    One extreme alternative is that there is another line of primates as represented by this skull who are kind of a more advanced human being. I found it disappointing that the web site only compares the skull to cro-magnons (modern humans), and not other primates.

  • And if you're an extraterrestrial reading Slashdot for the first time, welcome aboard. ;-P

    I've been reading /. for quite some time, since waaay before it was cool. To hear those stuffy Mxsptlars, you'd think they invented /. Galactic sheep dung is what they are, the lot of them...

    ======
    "Rex unto my cleeb, and thou shalt have everlasting blort." - Zorp 3:16

  • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Saturday November 13, 1999 @03:12PM (#1535555) Homepage
    The most obvious answer is that people dismiss it because the proponents jump to irrational and illogical conclusions based on only minimal or nonexistant evidence.

    reading through the page, what struck me most was how quickly they were assosciating anything about the skull with "eyewitness accounts" of what a "gray" looks like. Given only a verbal account of what a human head looks like, i have no doubt this skull would fit within acceptable parameters, as well.

    They brush off suggestions that it is simply malformed but entirely human because the doctors they've consulted disagree on the cause of deformity. So what? You can get mutually exclusive diagnosis for even the most common ailments for a patient that can actually talk to doctors and subject themselves to tests.
    Suggesting that multiple diagnosis from only a single sekeletal section necessarily invalidates them all is nothing short of self-delusional.

    Furthermore, there are many statements about why it couldn't be a given ailment that are simply wrong. Most extreme genetic disorders or other genetic ailmnents are fairly rare, and thus they have very little basis for saying that this skull doesn't fit them. Having done studies on Progeria, I personally thought the skull looked pretty much like most of the photos I've seen of progeric heads. For them to say it COULDN'T be progeria because it's "too symmetrical" is ridiculous and completely unbased on any scientific rationale.

    Finally, I couldn't do anything but laugh at their "forensic rendering". There are a lot of groundless assumptions being made in it, and i suggest that if they gave the skull to a qualified forensic artist without telling them "we think its an alien skull!" it would look pretty normal, although obviously a little top-heavy (a lot like someone with progeria).

    I especially liked the pointed ears, considering there was no ear cartilage or other physical structure to indicate what shape they should be other than normal human rounded...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    If carbon dating is accurate, creation science is invalid. Since creation science is valid, carbon dating is wildly innacurate and cannot be trusted.

    I know this is true because I read it on the Internet, and the Web site I read it on was made by a professor. I know he was a professor because it said so on the Web site, and everybody knows that professors are always right.

    Of course, it is always possible that the professor was half alien. I don't remember seeing any information about his DNA on the Web site.

    - Robin

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 13, 1999 @03:23PM (#1535563)
    Greetings, Earth being! I am an energy-based life form. I have transformed myself into this message so that I might communicate with you. Right now, I am having sex with your eyeballs. I know you are enjoying it because you are smiling!


    Please moderate me to a +5 so that I may have sex with as many Slashdotters as possible.

  • by S_hane (86976) on Saturday November 13, 1999 @03:46PM (#1535569)
    Well, just a few updates on this particular experiment...

    ...first of all, on an "origin of life on earth" basis, the experiment was subsequently shown to have simulated the wrong starting conditions...and stimulating the RIGHT starting conditions didn't produce the molecules.

    Second of all, the concentration of the molecules was w..a..a..y too low to do anything useful or interesting - basically the breakdown rate was too high to increase the concentration to anything even marginally useful.

    However, neither of these facts have all that much to do with the topic at hand - and here's possibly some supporting evidence for what you're saying:

    In a recent SciAm article, scientists discussed the possibility of the building blocks for life on earth coming from (wait for it...) Comets! And other space "junk"! Many of the comments were in support of this sort of scenario.

    So there you go.

    However, when it comes to this "alien", my alarm bells start ringing A LOT! Here's why:

    * they're asking for money
    * they're making the basic (and in my opinion STUPID) assumption that aliens must look like humans (more on this further down)
    * they won't list anyone else who's actually seen the skull
    * there are no independent witnesses who have come forward and claimed that they've seen the skull
    * HOW on earth did a teenage girl get two skulls (which by all accounts must have been fairly fragile) out of Mexico without alerting the authorities...or her parents??????

    All right... the most important point, I think, is that these people have decided that aliens must look (basically) like humans. Why?

    Even on earth, bilateral symmetry was chosen essentially by accident - one of the huge explosions of life-forms (pre-Cambrian, I think, but could be wrong) had trilateral symmetry and other even wierder (to us) things popping up. It happened that, ON EARTH, bilateral symmetry was best, AT THAT POINT IN TIME. But what about Squids / Octopi / Starfish / other non bilaterally symmetric creatures? Or what about the majority of quadrapeds / other significantly different-looking creatures to us? I'll guarantee that if any of these creatures developed significant intelligence (I mean significant enough to develop space travel), they would NOT LOOK LIKE HUMANS!

    And that's just on earth. On one planet, the form of the first race of creatures to develop rudimentary space-travel was decided by chance alone from a very large number of possibilities.

    Why on EARTH (hehe) would aliens look similar? And I noted further down that this skull had a lot of the SAME bones (but deformed), the SAME foramens for blood vessels and nerves, the SAME muscular attachment points, etc etc etc - WHY WOULD ALIENS HAVE THE SAME BODILY STRUCTURE AS HUMANS WHEN THE TWO DEVELOPED COMPLETELY INDEPENDANTLY???????

    I mean, take even two moderately different earthly creatures like reptiles and mammals and look at the differences in skull make-up!!!!!!

    Well, that's my little piece of rant.

    -Shane Stephens
  • Also, I'm going WAY out on a limb but hey... why not?

    I read a story not too long ago from the BBC newssite about how early bacteria were found to have existed even as far back as the molten stage of earth's history. Could life have formed so fast that it existed so early OR did it get seeded here from somewhere else? These bacteria live in the cooling lava fields close to the vent and at the mid-atlantic rift deep below the sea in environments close to what you'd expect in hell. You know how hardy bacteria can be when they're in a less than savory environment - right? They form cysts and get real hardy! Scientists have found bacteria deep in the earth's crust and so high in the atmosphere that it could nearly be called space... is there some kind of bacterial life that can exist in the void of space? I wouldn't be surprised.

    These are all interesting questions - questions that lead to other questions... If all life on earth is related... is it to much to suppose that life, if it exists elsewhere, is not modeled on the same DNA type structure with the same types of proteins etc... etc... etc...

    Also, is it too much to assume that if there are technological civilizations elsewhere that they may have the tech to do gene splicing or genetic design. Maybe they helped to modify our own genetic structure the way we breed animals? Maybe they are members of a race of humans that had a civilization prior to some distant ice-age and fled the earth...

    Who knows? But it sure gets you to thinkin'
  • Take a look at a baby during the early stages of development and you will think yourself looking at an alien. Deformity is a likely candidate for this skull - if the skull is even real.

    You can speculate all day but the forensic evidence is what will decide it. The features are human enough for me to lean toward deformed human.

    I try to keep an open mind though...
  • They're on the completely wrong track.

    The "skull" represents the latest in safety helmets the inhabitants of Mars have designed to protect their fragile brains from the effects of Earth's music. They're planning an attack right now.

    It should be an interesting war. I think this time, instead of exposing them to music, we should try network television. This should handily blind them, as well as turn them into slobbering consumers. Once they're all out shopping, all we have to do is saturate-bomb all the Wal-Marts and ShopKos. Problem solved.


    nebulo
    "We are your friends... " (BOOM)
  • Not necessarily true, astronomers are constantly working with observations of the heavens, yet where's the latest UFO sighting from them? How about government agencies examining crashes, digging through the earth, and defending their airspace? What about other branches of science working in the field?

    The difference is the UFO nut considers all these examples to be controlled by the MIB, which may or may not include Will Smith. Which is complete bullshit, any agency would kill for the PR to be the first one's talking or discovering aliens. Look at how excited NASA got with their Mars sample.

    After the UFO nut is done explaining to you why the Grays, Blues, Purples, and Rainbows are fighting and the massive conspiracy behind their secret war, they'll be the first to pull up a photo from some other flake and claiming this is the REAL stuff d00dz!

    I think the last person who will discover anything authentic about aliens will be the nuts. Their simply blinded by their zeal, the way a crazed Tennessee snake handling strychnine drinking fundie would make a lousy theologian. If anything it'll be an accidental discovery, most likely someone who doesn't have one strong positive or negative opinion about UFOs.
  • As it turns out Columbus was wrong. He just got lucky. Intellectuals had known that the world was round ever since the Greeks. They even had a good estimate of the circumference. Columbus thought the circumference was much smaller. It wasn't, he just was lucky that there was another continent in the middle.
    --
  • What I don't understand is how people challenging the scientific establishment are so quick to ignore major inconsistencies in their own work. This is particularily true in para-psychology. Admittedly, all scientific theories have flaws. Many of them even have known flaws. But if you are challenging a known flaw in an established theory, such as the inability of Newtonian gravitation to explain the retrograde motion of Mercury then the theory you espouse which corrects the error must have even fewer flaws, as does General Relativity.

    In short, the harder you probe a new theory the more solid it must be, otherwise it deserves laughter. This does not suggest that one shouldn't have an open mind, but it means that a new idea or discovery needs to be exposed in the harshest possible light, not contrived demonstrations.
    --
  • Not only is their an alien readingh /. but he has a karma of 32 [slashdot.org]
    That's a simple transliteration of 23 for those keeping score at home.

    --
  • by Katydid (80531) <Hegemon22@yaYEATShoo.com minus poet> on Saturday November 13, 1999 @06:20PM (#1535620)
    I am not an expert, but the Archaeology course I'm taking just finished dealing with dating methods and I have lots of notes and texts to refer to. I also have a chemistry background, so I'm pretty sure I understand this. If anyone wants to correct me, feel free.

    C-14 dating is only accurate before about 1600 AD, but it's not because the ratio hasn't changed enough. The reason is inherent in the method, which is based on the decay process of a radioactive isotope of carbon (C-14, naturally). The ratio of C-14 to C-12 occurs at the same level worldwide at any given time and is maintained within living organisms. After an organism's death, it ceases to exchange carbon with its environment and thus contains a given level of C-14. This C-14 gradually decays at a constant rate - the half-life is now estimated at 5730 years. Dating is accomplished by measuring the current level of C-14 in a sample in the present and comparing it to the amount it contained at death (known as a percentage of total carbon). Algebra gives us an age.

    The problem is that while the decay rate is constant over long periods of time, it's extremely random over shorter spans. So there would be a large error in dates from a sample of, say, George Washington's hair because not enough C-14 has decayed to even out the hills and valleys. Also, there is inherent error assiciated with the process; most current radiocarbon dates have an error of +-80 or 100 years (depending on the measuring process and lab). This gives 67% probability of being within that range; for 95%, one must give an error of +-160 or 200 years. So a date of 1600 AD (+-160 for 95% probability) would be essentially useless. (Yeah, the body died between 1440 and 1760. Aren't you glad you paid thousands for that knowledge?)

    Also, in specific response to this comment, old wood samples cannot be dated to within "a few weeks" unless you have extremely accurate records to work with, and then radiocarbon can tell you age to only within a few decades (my book says the most accurate [most expensive] methods can give +-20 years). And we now know that the ratio of C-14 to normal carbon in the atmosphere has varied widely over the past few thousand years. We can give calibrated dates by dating the inner rings of Very Old trees which have been absolutely dated. My book says that anything more than 9000 to 10000 years old cannot be accurately calibrated at this time.

    So next time you see a radiocarbon date of 30,000 years ago, remember that it's in radiocarbon years, not calendar years, and the two should not be confused.

    Way more than you wanted or needed to know, I'm sure.

  • by antizeus (47491) on Saturday November 13, 1999 @05:00PM (#1535621)
    It just sickens me when I see people interpret the slightest weirdness as a some sort of extraterrestrial. What sort of foolishness is this? First of all, the vast distances between stars make most interstellar travel unfeasible. Even if some people from another star system sent a ship here, then where is the other evidence? Any realistic ship would have to be a big multi-generational affair with lots of entities on it, so where are all the other skulls?

    No, the obvious answer is that this skull is from a Dero, one of the evil dwarves who live under the hollow earth.

  • There is a lot of evidence in the article to suggest a hoax or at least a scam, but after looking at the pictures at their site [starchildproject.com], I had to say "hmmmm."


    There are many details that don't make sense in context to what I know:


    The skull looks strikingly humanoid, especially the 'seams' (not the right word, but whatever) on the back of the skull where the pieces of skull grew together after birth. The mere presence of those 'seams' mean that the 'alien' was born in a mammilian way. Seems like life from another planet should be a little more original...


    Humans can't breed with aliens. You don't believe me? Try having impregnating chimp - their genes are 99% identical to ours and it still doesn't work. Unless the 'aliens' engineered a special breed that could procreate with humans there is no way. This is a little stupid though, if they can create a compatible being, why not just clone humans in the lab? Why mess with humans at all if they have genetic (or equivalent) mastery?


    While the article discussed genetic disorders as a cause of deformation, it did not explore other avenues of deformation: False Hellebore (Veratrum viride), when eaten by pregnant sheep causes the baby to be born with only one eye socket with both eyes in it! I was unable to find documentation on the web, but I read this (and saw a picture) doing research for a project of mine (don't ask:).


    They don't seem to be getting much funding at all. It normally seems that fanatics jump all over this kind of thing. Why then, are they having trouble making money? A: they are really bad at communicating with sponsors OR B: the sponsors back out after getting some information not included in the webpage. It also seems strange that not one of the 'experts' they talked to wanted to have their name used anywhere.


    Otherwise, i quite liked the site and the big hi-res pictures.


    Hey! I think I just spotted an alien! Oh, wait, it's just my roommate, nevermind.


  • Even on earth, bilateral symmetry was chosen essentially by accident - one of the huge explosions of life-forms (pre-Cambrian, I think, but could be wrong) had trilateral symmetry and other even wierder (to us) things popping up. It happened that, ON EARTH, bilateral symmetry was best, AT THAT POINT IN TIME. But what about Squids / Octopi / Starfish / other non bilaterally symmetric creatures? Or what about the majority of quadrapeds / other significantly different-looking creatures to us? I'll guarantee that if any of these creatures developed significant intelligence (I mean significant enough to develop space travel), they would NOT LOOK LIKE HUMANS!
    Excellent point. However, since bilateral symmetry continues to work well in our environment, there's no reason to exclude the possibility of "it" independently evolving to a similar bipedal form, though through a totally different evolutionary path. We can only guess, by extrapolating morphological differences in closed ecological communities such as the Galapagos Islands, or Australia, against common species elsewhere, that since similar forms repeat on Earth along fairly divergent paths, such forms are possible, and desirable in many conditions, not just here but in similar ecological niches all over the universe as well. Though all evolved from a different branch of life's family tree, each evolutionary history forged an anatomy between the kangaroo, dinosaur, bird, and human whereby all walk as bipeds.

    Pre-Cambrian -- yes. Stephen J. Gould wrote a nice book called "Wonderful Life" about the Pre-Cambrian explosion that presents a litany of amazingly weird fossils containing phylum which are long since extinct. Most probably died off from bad luck, the environment changing on them faster than they could biologically react, in an evolutionary sense, and BAM! -- they're gone; a view of extinction as a biological failure to change through self-replication to meet a new environmental stress -- there's a threshold for all self-replicating systems (no matter what the substrate) where evolution fails because the requisite change required for survival exceeds the time constraints of the organisms replication cycle. For example, an unfortunate volcanic eruption, meteor, or fast weather change -- no way to screw one's way out of that mess -- and it's toast for good. Some weird-ass shit in there; definitely worth a read.

    Not that this explains "Little Grey Men" and their -- ahem -- invasive exams. Ouch!

  • You guys must have _something_ better to do than post to alien stories on a saturday night...

    Okay, maybe not.

    If I happen across an alien, I'll make sure to send it to Hermos's house with a sign on it that says: "First Post!"
  • by Phat_Bastard (94304) on Saturday November 13, 1999 @07:06PM (#1535647) Homepage
    I totally agree that all these cases should be given the benefit of analysis using the "scientific method". what you don't realize however is that they already have.

    Any credible scientist in the world base their experimental findings on reproducability. No new knowledge is accepted by the scientific community unless it can be repeated by other, unrelated and unbiased scientists. For example, the supposed "discovery" of cold fusion could not be reproduced and so we don't have any Back to the Future-style power generators. Most people believe in life in the universe, but most of those same people acknowledge that: a) The distances between civilizations is so vast the chances of two ever meeting are very small, b) Many factors (from the over-quoted Drake Equation) need to come together for contact to take place (i.e. civilizations need to exist in the same time window, civilizations need to survive post-technological age "adolescence" and not destroy themselves, etc.) The probablilities involved are very slim, c) If life exists on many worlds and Earth isn't special in having the conditions necessary for life, Earth isn't special in attracting civilizations either. Why travel light-years to come to our planet with such a lowly, unevolved society such as our own?

    Just because Stanton Frieman is a nuclear physicist does not mean he represents the world's scientific community. Most of us would vehemently disagree with his claims. You insult scientific objectivity and the scientific community in general by believing his work.

    We can all hope for claims such as that of "Starchildren" to be true, but the fact remains they haven't been reproduced and the scientific community has not jumped on the "aliens bandwagon" since we don't see anything to be concerned about. Keep on dreaming, but please remain objective and critical of any such claims. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

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