These skulls were photographed by Robert Connolly on his trip around the world during which he was collecting materials about ancient civilizations.
The discovery of unusual skulls was thus an unintended “spinoff” of his efforts. Robert Connolly published his photographs on a CD-ROM, titled “The Search For Ancient Wisdom”, Cambrix, 1-800-992-8781, in 1995.
The data about the skulls is incomplete, and that makes the correct assessment of their age, context with other hominids, as well as placement of their origin extremely difficult. Some of the skulls are very distinct, as if they belong to entirely different species, remotely similar to genus Homo. The first thing that attracts attention is the size and shape of the cranium in all the specimens.
There are 4 different groups represented in the pictures. As a matter of convenience, I labeled them “cone-head”, “jack-o-lantern” or “J” and “M” based on the shape of the skull, except the first and possibly earliest type of skull, which I call “premodern”.
When some of these pictures (the first two) were posted on CompuServe more than year ago, the majority of people assumed that they represented an example of binding of the head, well known to be in fashion in ancient Nubia, Egypt and other cultures.
The problem with this theory is that the inside of the cranium of the mentioned skulls, although elongated and with a back sloping, flattened forehead, have the same capacity as normal human skulls; the only difference is the shape achieved by frontal and side deformations. They are actually more similar to the first type of skull (premodern) with the rounded back, than the cone-head type. The cone-shaped types of skull are not found amongst the usual skull-binding samples.
The first skull presents problems of its own. The frontal part of the skull seems to belong to an individual of the pre-Neanderthal family, but the lower jaw, though more robust than modern human type, has a modern shape and characteristics.
The shape of the cranium does not have any comparison with the Erectus, Neanderthal types, nor the modern human type.
Some minor Neanderthal characteristics are present, as is the occipital ridge on the bottom back of the skull and the flattened bottom of the cranium, other characteristics point more towards Homo erectus. The angle of the cranial bottom is, though, unusual. We cannot exclude the possibility of a deformed individual in this case, but it is highly unlikely that the angle of the frontal part would require a modification of the lower jaw in the process of growing to resemble modern human types with their projected chin rim.
The answer seems to be that the skull belongs to a representative of an unknown pre-modern human or humanoid type.
As is obvious from the comparison with a modern human skull, the cranial capacity lies within the modern human range. This is not surprising, since the late Neanderthals and early modern humans (Cro-Magnon) had larger cranial capacities (both roughly 1600 cm3 to 1750 cm3) than modern humans (av. 1450 cm3).
The decrease of the cranial capacity (sudden at that – the specimens of modern humans after about 10,500 BCE have smaller craniums) is a puzzling matter, but that’s another story.