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South American head-hunting proved true by shrunken head

Genetic analysis performed on a shrunken head proves that accounts of head-hunting in South America were true.

“The shrunken head we studied was made from a real human skin,” Kahila Bar-Gal said. “The people who made it knew exactly how to peel the skin from the skull, including the hair,” she added, mentioning that it was also salted and boiled.

The researchers determined that the skin belonged to a man who lived and died in South America “probably in the Afro-Ecuadorian population.” The genes reveal the victim’s ancestors were from West Africa, but his DNA profile matches that of modern populations from Ecuador with African admixture.

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Story: Jennifer Viegas, DiscoveryNews | Photo: Gila Kahila Bar-Gal

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