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    Posted January 11, 2011 by

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    A study on a Carboniferous human skull cap


    A study on a Carboniferous human calvarium fossil

    Last update: Jan. 17, 2011 (11th edition)

    Author: Lin Liangtai


    The author has examined through microscopes more than 30 thin sections cut from “rocks” that Mr. Ed Conrad discovered and sent to the author. Without exception, they are all found to be fossils, including the subject “calvarium fossil”. The object is a Carboniferous human calvarium fossil for the following reasons: (1) its computed-tomography images bear close resemlance to those of a calvarium; (2) it contains fossilized osteocytes, Haversian canals, branching blood vessel with red blood cells; (3) it contains remains of neurons and neuroglial cells that exist only in the central nervous system; (4) No other animal has an organ or body part that matches both its inner and outer shape and size; (5) Its inner cavity has a capacity between 1,025 c.c.and 1,665 c.c.; (6) It was discovered between coal veins near Mahanoy, Pennsylvania, where rock strata have been firmly dated to be 305 (+/- 7) million years old. (7) Some areas on the specimens have turned into coal, suggesting it once existed in a coal region. (8) In addition to the subject fossil, there are at least two other pieces of evidence for human existence in the Carboniferous age.


    A “calvarium fossil” (Fig. 1, Video 1, Video 4), discovered between anthracite veins ( Fig. 2-8) and owned by Mr. Ed Conrad of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., has been considered for over 25 years to be just a rock, while its owner keeps maintaining that it is a Carboniferous human calvarium fossil. This article attempts to evaluate the object by answering the following questions in this article’s Discussion section:

    1. Is it a fossil?

    2. Is it a calvarium fossil?

    3. Is it a human calvarium fossil?

    4. Is it a Carboniferous human calvarium fossil?

    5. Are there other evidences for human existence in the Carboniferous age?

    6.Was there high-technology civilization in the Carboniferous age?

    7. Attempts to disprove myself

    7-1 Couldn’t it be a rock?

    7-2 Couldn’t it be something other than a calvarium fossil?

    7-3 Couldn’t it be a non-human calvarium fossil?

    7-4 Couldn’t it be later than the Carboniferous age?


    A calvarium is the domelike portion of the skull without the facial parts, whereas a cranium refers to skull bones that enclose the brain (Ref. 1). A calvarium could contain brain remains.

    Material and methods

    Material A-1:

    On the author’s request, the owner of the “fossil” cut a small specimen from the object, took pictures of the spot where the specimen was cut

    (Fig. 2-2), and sent the specimen to the author by post.

    The specimen arrived in the following conditions:

    (1) A chunk of “fossil” about 1.5 cm long, 1 cm wide, and 0.5 cm thick.

    (2) Three small fragments that crumbled out of the above chunk when the author took up the chunk to look at it for the first time. The three fragments measure about 0.5 cm x 0.5 cm x 0.2 cm each.

    (3)Dozens of small grains, each measuring less than 0.2 cm in any dimension.

    Above three kinds of specimens were taken to the geology department of National Taiwan University. They were made into three thin sections (Thin Section 1, 2 and 3 respectively) in the following methods, which involved no artificial staining of colors:

    1. Thin section 1 (Fig. 4): Specimen 1 was cut for transverse and longitudinal sections, which were then ground and mounted onto a glass slide, namely thin section 1. One third of Specimen 1 was left from

    the process of making the thin section (Fig. 5, Specimen 1 remnant).

    2. Thin section 2 (Fig. 6): Fragments of Specimen 2 were cut, ground and mounted onto a glass slide.

    3. Thin section 3 (Fig. 7) : Small grains of Specimen 3 were placed in a mold, glued firmly together, ground to a thickness of about 0.03 mm, and then mounted onto a glass slide, namely thin section 3. This thin section was not covered with glass, but was coated with a thin layer of wax on its top side.

    Specimens 1, 2, 3, and thin sections 1, 2, 3 were viewed through a stereo-microscope, a digital microscope (ref. 11), and a transmitted-light microscope. The remnant from specimen 1 and thin section 3 were also viewed with a scanning electron mircoscope (Hitachi model S-3400N). Besides the digital microscope, a camera (Canon model EOS 350D) was used to capture images from the stereo-microscope and the transmitted-light microscope.

    Material A-2:

    On March 17, 2008, Mr. Ed Conrad cut another specimen from the object (Fig. 2-10) and sent it to the author (Fig. 2-11, Fig. 2-12). This specimen measured roughly 5.5 cm X 4 cm X 3 cm. This specimen’s original location in the “calvarium fossil” is visible in Video 1. This specimen, named SK2 (Fig. 2) by Mr. Conrad, was taken to the geology department of National Taiwan University, where it was cut in three different directions. Three thin sections were then obtained and named here as SK2-1, SK2-2, SK2-3 (Fig. 3). The specimen and its three thin sections were viewed with various microscopes, such as stereomicroscope, transmitted-light microscope, digital microscope, and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). Their images were captured with the digital microscope, SEM, and Canon camera Model EOS 350D. The scanning electron microscope also analysed the chemical composition of a tiny spot on Specimen SK2 (Fig. 8, EDS report).

    Material B: the “calvarium fossil”

    On March 28, 2008, the author had the “calvarium fossil” scanned by the Computed Tomography system of Alberta Research Council in Canada. The resulting computed-tomography animations are listed in Result A.

    The author had also asked the owner of the “fossil” to measure the object (Fig. 2-3) and got the following data:

    (1) Outer dimensions of the object: 22.8 cm (maximum length) by 17.8 cm (maximum width) by 13.3 cm (maximum height)

    The owner advised the author that on the top side of the object, there seems to be a 6-mm-thick coating of foreign substance. To be on the safe side, the author subtracts twice that thickness (6mm x 2) from the above-mentioned outer length/ width, and subtracts 6 mm from its outer height. Hence, the following figures are obtained and used for calculating its cranial capacity:Outer dimensions: 21.6 cm (L) by 16.6 cm (W) by 12.7 cm (H)

    (2) Inner cavity dimensions: 15.9 cm (maximum L) by 10.8 cm (maximum W) by 11.4 cm (maximum H), as measured by its owner.

    Based on the above data, the author calculated the cranial capacity of the object as follows:

    1.   By Lee Pearson Formula, given by Williams et al (1995) and Manjunath (2002b) (ref. 2):

    For males: 0.000337 x (L-11) x (W-11) x (H-11) + 406.01

    This formula uses outer dimensions, and those dimensions are expressed in millimeters in this formula. So, the following calculation is done:

    0.000337 x (216-11) x (166-11) x (127-11) + 406.01=1,648 cc

    For females:

    0.0004 x (L-11) x (W-11) x (H-11) + 206.60

    Hence, the following calculation is done:

    0.0004 x (216-11) x (166-11) x (127-11) + 206.60 =1,681 cc

    Mean cranial capacity: (1648+1681) divided by 2 makes 1,665 cc.

    As the gender of the “cranium” is unknown, only the mean figure is considered here for convenience.

    2.   By Spheroid Formula, given by Manjunath (2002b, ref. 3)

    0.5238 x length x width x height(depth)= cranial capacity

    Above length, width, and depth are measurements of the cranial cavity and expressed in centimeter.

    Hence the calculation 0.5238x15.9x10.8x11.4=1,025 cc.


    A. Animated Computed Tomography images in all three planes (horizontal, coronal, and sagittal planes) of the whole object are contained mainly in the following videos: Video 1, Video 4.

    B. The EDS report (Fig. 8, energy dispersive spectroscopy report), done by the scanning electronic microscope, reveals that the scanned nerve cell consists of Carbon (60.07%, by atom count), Oxygen (38.05%, by atom count) and Si (1.59% by atom count).

    C. Various images of the specimens reveal the following fossil cells and tissues: bone cells ( Fig. 1-0), blood vessels and red blood cells (Fig. 1-0-0, Fig. 12-3), Haversian canals ( Fig. 1-3, Fig. 1-4), neurons, neuroglial cells, nerve fibers (Fig. 10-1, Fig. 10-2, Fig. 10-3, Fig. 10-4), blood vessel’s transverse section (Fig. 11-5).

    D. Specimen 1 is found to possess at least three black areas. One such black area shows brilliant black vitreous luster under microscopes (Fig. 5).

    E. The estimated cranial capacity of the “calvarium” ranges from 1,025 cc to 1,665 cc as calculated in the preceding paragraph.


    1. Is it a fossil?

    Yes. Its computed-tomography images (Video 4) don’t look like any rock. No rocks or plants contain all at the same time the remains of neurons, neuroglial cells, bone cells, red blood cells, Haversian canals, and blood vessels mentioned in Result C. They are found in randomly-chosen, freshly-cut thin sections, not from re-worked/contaminated tissues. Their colors are not artificially stained.

    2. Is it a calvarium fossil?

    Yes. Its computed-tomography images bear close resemblance to those of a calvarium on the organ level (Video 4). On the cell level, it contains remains of osteocytes, neurons, and glial cells as listed in Result C. Those remains point to a calvarium fossil that once contained brain tissue. No other animal organs or body parts have inner and outer sizes/shapes similar to those found in this fossil (Fig. 1).

    3. Is it a human calvarium fossil?

    Yes. Its cranial capacity of at least 1,025 cc is surpassed only by cetaceans, walrus, elephants, and/or dinosaurs (ref. 4). However, those four kinds of animal have no crania/organs that match the subject fossil in cranial shape and size. As each order of animal has a different shaped skull (ref. 5), the subject calvarium fossil can be identified as a human calvarium fossil by forensic experts on human skulls. One such expert is Mr. Wilton Krogman. He has physically examined the calvarium fossil. His broad smile in the photo (Fig. 1) says that he confirmed it was a human calvarium fossil.

    The calvarium fossil matches humans’ cranial size, cranial capacity and cranial shape in the following ways:

    3-1: Cranial size (outer dimensions):

    Neanderthal: 24.1cm (L) x 14.6 cm (W) x 17.8 cm (H) (ref. 6)

    Subject fossil: 21.6 cm (L) x 16.6 cm (W) x 12.7 cm (H)

    3-2 : Cranial capacity:

    Neanderthal: 1,750 cc (ref. 7)

    Modern Human: 1,350-1,400 cc (ref. 8)

    Java man: 940 cc (Homo Erectus, Trinil 2, Pithecanthropus I, ref. 9)

    Subject fossil: at least 1,025 cc (by Spheroid Formula)

    The vast difference resulting from the two methods used (Pearson Formula vs. Spheroid Formula--1,665 cc vs. 1,025 cc) may be due to the following factors:

    (A) The Lee Pearson Formula uses the skull cap’s outer dimensions, while the Spheroid Formula uses its inner dimensions. In this case, the calvarium’s inner width is only 60% of its outer width, because the fossil retains brain remains in its inner cavity (See the bottom view of the fossil in Fig. 1). As a result, the Lee Pearson Formula produces the result of 1,665 c.c. while the Spheroid Formula produces the result of 1,025 c.c;

    (B) The calvarium was broken on the eye socket level in the front face;

    3-3: Cranial shape:

    Human: well-rounded cranium (ref. 10)

    Java man: flat, very thick cranium (Homo Erectus, Trinil 2, Pithecanthropus I) (Fig. 2-1 & ref. 9)

    Subject fossil: More rounded than Java man (Fig. 1 vs.Fig. 2-1)

    The above analysis shows the subject fossil matches human skull caps

    in cranial size, cranial capacity, and cranial shape.

    4.   Is it a Carboniferous human calvarium fossil?

    The youngest rocks exposed in Pennsylvania are about 185 million years old in absolute isotopic ages (see here). The fossil has turned into coal in some spots (Fig. 5, Fig. 9-5 ). It was found between the coal veins near Mahanoy City, where rock strata have been firmly dated at 305 (+/- 7) million years old (Fig.5-1-3 ). Coal miners had dumped the fossil and other wastes between the coal veins there, where the discoverer found it and thousands of other fossils. The above has been confirmed in three polygraph tests (Exhibt 1, Exhibit 2, Exhibit 3, Exhibit 4 ) successfully passed by its discoverer.

    5.   Are there other evidences for humans in the Carboniferous age?

    Two other pieces of evidence for human existence in the Carboniferous age are: (1) a Carboniferous human femur fossil http://www.wretch.cc/album/lin440315(Article 1) and (2) a Carboniferous human cerebral hemisphere fossil (Video 5, Video 6).

    6. Was there high-tech civilization in the Carboniferous age?

    Modern humans took no more than 8,000 years to develop from low-tech society to high-tech society. I have written about similar subjects in Usenet’s talk. origins newsgroup.

    7.Attempts to disprove myself


    Couldn’t it be a rock?

    Its CT images (Video 9, Video 10) don’t resemble any rock.

    Besides my figures, there are photomicrographs taken by Mr. Andrew MacRae and Mr. PZ Myers displayed on the internet. Their figures also show Haversian canals, which are distinguishing features of fossil bones (Fig. 20-4, Fig. 20-5).

    Few rocks have a shape and size that fully matches human skull interior and exterior. To put it simply, there has never been a rock that resembles a human skull cap from the organ level ( showing cranial cavity), through the tissue level ( showing blood vessels and Haversian canals), down to the cell level (showing remains of bone cells, red blood cells, neuroglial cells and neurons).


    Couldn’t it be something other than a calvarium fossil?

    Its large size and distinct shape cannot be found in any organs or body parts other than skulls. Its neurons and glias could only have come from a calvarium, because the subject fossil does not look like a vertebra at all.


    Couldn’t it be a non-human calvarium?

    All crania have different, distinctive shapes among different orders of animal (ref. 5). The author has compared the fossil with various animal skulls and found only human skulls matched the fossil. The No. 1 distinction of human skulls lies in their large cranial capacity. No other animal has a skull that remotely matches human skulls in cranial capacity, cranial shape and cranial size.


    Couldn’t it be later than the Carboniferous age?

    No. The calvarium fossil is not a tiny object and rivers could not have moved it through multi-layers of coal-bearing strata after coal had been formed there. The discoverer has found thousands of small broken fossils that lay miles apart, all well preserved down to the microscopic level. This fact precludes the possibility that some animals fell from a hole long ago into the present-day region. So, the subject fossil could not have moved vertically or horizontally from a younger rock layer.

    That region’s surface rocks and soil have been repeatedly excavated away by surface coal-mining since 1900. When the discoverer found his first fossil there in 1981, the region’s surface rocks and soil of the 19th century had been removed almost completely. Moreover, the Pennsylvania state government’s geological unit has confirmed in writing to the author that fossils found near Mahanoy City are all 305 (+/- 7) million years old.


    Ref. 1: Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skull

    Ref. 2: “Estimation of Cranial Volume in Dissecting Room Cadavers” by K.Y. Manjunath, J. Anat. Soc. India 51(2) pp.168-172 (2002)

    Ref. 3: Same as ref. 2.

    Ref. 4: Brain Facts and Figures in an article at


    Ref. 5: On-line article at http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/bex/31.pdf

    (Page 4 of a teaching plan for grade three of primary schools)

    Ref. 6 : On-line material at http://www.boneclones.com/BH-019.htm

    Ref. 7: Neanderthal physical traits in a Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal (See anatomy section)

    Ref. 8: Same as ref. 4.

    Ref. 9: On-line article at www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/java.html

    Ref. 10: Same as ref. 9.

    Ref. 11: Digital microscope—Dino-Lite AM-313T5 made by AnMo Electronics Corp. http://www.anmo.com.tw/

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