Why did King Tut have a flat head?

Why did King Tut have a flat head?


We’re here back in the Human Evolution Lab with Dr. Robert Martin, who is curator emeritus of human evolution here at the Field Museum, and today we’re going to be talking about artificial head binding in ancient Egypt! So uh, Bob can you start by telling us a little bit about what artificial head binding is? Yes, you know, there are various cultural developments, for example, binding feet in China so that you’re getting a permanent change and this is usually done in connection with the elite in society or particular groups and so what happens in head binding is that pe..people deliberately set it out from birth to tightly bind the baby’s skull in different ways so you can have a band across the crown or you can have it from front to back the baby’s head is flexible for the first couple of years but after that, the head shape is pretty settled and so once you’ve done it, it’s done for life and it makes the head look very distinctive. EG: And this is achievable because when the baby is born it’s cranial bones aren’t fused together? RM: Absolutely. The key thing is if you look at the skull just before birth Humans have these gaps called fontanelles, there’s a major one on the top of the skull and there are subsidiary ones on the side. Those gaps are there to allow flexibility because we have such big brains our babies only just passed through the pelvis this is a female human pelvis, and going through the pelvis it will only go through if it’s facing this way. EG: Wow. RM: And then when it gets part of the way through, it has to turn 90 degrees And it’s facing backwards. We’re the only primates that give birth with our babies facing backwards rather than to the front. But that’s why the bones are so flexible and that allows you to produce this artificial shape by molding. EG: Does this impact the fetal development at all? I mean, does this have a negative impact on any other kind of developmental properties or things that are happening to a baby? RM: As long as you don’t reduce the volume. That would be bad news for the brain. But if you just change the skull shape without changing the volume As far as we know there are no negative effects of doing this. EG: Oh, that’s good. And it’s interesting that this has come up with such notable figures from history like King Tut I mean we have this model which wasn’t just artistically created to have a flattened head but there is actual evidence that King Tut had experienced cranial deformation. With my colleague JP Brown we CAT scanned several Egyptian mummies in our collection. And then when we are doing our mummy project we wanted to get a copy of this reconstruction by the Smithsonian when it arrived we unpacked it from the box Oh my word, that is artificial cranial deformation. And in fact, you can see a kind of saddle shaped depression over the top of the skull and then at the back underneath you’ve got a counterpart It’s interesting because his father Akhenaten had a skull shape like that and Akhenaten was married to Nefertiti and it seems that she had this kind of head shape and they had 6 daughters All 6 daughters had head shapes like that. And for many years Egyptologists have described this as an artistic style. -Sure We don’t have the skulls to check that. But certainly for Akhenaten we have the skull and we have the skull of King Tut They definitely had head deformation and I’m pretty certain that it is artificial two mummies it was a 40 year old woman and a priest son called Minirdis when we produced the 3d print from the skull then it became absolutely clear that there was a saddle play shape depression you can see it has an elongated shape but it’s not extreme it’s not like King Tut but it’s subtle but it’s there and so presumably the priests were doing this to get this distinctive head shape at least a thousand years later than King Tut so these are these are two separate events in time what I’ve seen is that there is no written evidence or record of like this happening for people in royal positions or higher society like King Tut why do you think there wouldn’t be a record of this I think this was done in secret this was not something that was to be public knowledge whole idea was to take a small group of people and artificially change their head shape so that they would look different from everybody else and it kind of spoils the effect if you tell everybody what you’re doing do you have any other thoughts about about head binding and its prevalence in ancient Egypt do you have any other examples that you might want to talk about a big question for me as an anthropologist is why would so many different human populations independently hit on the idea of binding their babies heads and I’ve mentioned it at birth you can get misshapen heads and so you can get most of the shapes that people then use you get these cone heads and you also get skulls that are flattened from front back but I think one of the main influences was cradle boarding that many societies in many societies babies are carried around strapped to a board on the mother’s back typically there’s a bandage around the head holding the baby’s head still eventually there can produce deformation but you can recognize it because it’s not regular you it’s asymmetrical whereas in something like King Tut if you look at this skull is beautifully symmetrical that is achieved by deliberately binding the head but it will be a short step from carrying babies around and noticing that you can artificially accidentally change the head shape to doing it deliberately I assume there are probably some people who might think that there were extraterrestrial influence to the ways that we you know the shape of the head and obviously like there are movies that depict aliens coming to Earth with cone heads do you do you have any any anything to say to dispel some of those rumors that might suggest that alien life forms are really at play there are skulls in Peru particularly from Nazcan Paracas they are so extreme that it’s opened the door to people saying you know they this is so extreme it cannot be human and you know with the Nazca people it was particularly convincing because you have these Nazca lines which are absolutely gigantic and people say well you can only see these properly from outer space and therefore they must be connected with aliens so take these strange head shapes and the Nazca lines and you’ve got the basis for a best-seller and quite recently somebody claimed that they had extracted DNA genetic material from one of these Nazca skulls and it wasn’t the same as typical human DNA but they haven’t published the results in a reputable journal and my advice is don’t hold your breath the brain scoop is made possible by the Field Museum and the Harris family foundation it still has brains on it

100 thoughts on “Why did King Tut have a flat head?”

  1. Maybe the skulls with larger capacity had birthdefects like megacephaly or hydrocephaly and , as an un educated/not yet knowledgable superstitious type of society; they thought to wrap the skulls to a more pleasing shape or to stop them growing bigger? Any plausability to this?

  2. My little sisters are identical twins and when they were younger they had distinctly different head shapes because of how they were squashed in the womb, although as they've got older their heads have settled in more similar shapes

  3. If it was binding then why don't any of the skulls analyzed LOOK like they were bound? Like feet that were bound they should appear to have been SEVERELY misshapen. They still bear the usual appearance of skulls despite being larger or "elongated".

  4. Why are black people so determined that Egyptian kings were black? If thats the case then yall were the first slave owners to ever walk the earth. I wouldn’t be proud of that nor would would I be eager to be associated with it, if I were you.

  5. Elongated skulls is a symptom of inbreeding. Around the world, ruling elite families practiced inbreeding, leading to all sorts of physical deformities and health issues. Humans practicing abnormal practices suffer similar symptoms. E.g., an Australian with heart disease doesn't have to had contact with or be influenced in the past by a Peruvian with heart disease in order to have the condition.

    It is possible that elongated skulls became a fashion or fad in some areas, members of societies trying to look like the elite. Still goes on today – cosmetic surgery.

    Tut had multiple physical deformities and health issues due to being the end product of a family that consistently practiced close inbreeding, sister-brother, father-daughter, etc. The family reign ended, it's been seen in other monarchies in Europe (e.g., Habsburgs of Spain) and no doubt right around the world. Another symptom of inbreeding is sterility and high infant/child mortality rates.

  6. honestly its probably the heavy ass crowns they put on the babies head right when they are born that causes their skulls to deform lol ^_^

  7. Akhenaten was a IN VITRO FERTILIZATION PRODUCT OF THE FALLEN ANGELS AND KING TUT IS HIS SON SO HE IS HALF HYBRID NEPHILIM DNA ALSO.

  8. Whitewashing at its best smh! All Egyptians were African the new Egyptians are not the ORIGINALS and event the paintings proved this

  9. The "style" came about much as not buttoning the bottom button on a suit/sports coat. The headshape itself was a birth defect from inbreeding.

  10. In war You Must Destroy the identity of the enemy pillage of their resources and burn the history so that their future Generations can be misled and finally enslave the remaining citizens for future projects.

    The winner of War write the history think about that

  11. They bound skulls in parts of South America and now I find out they bound skulls in Egypt too! What is it with people thinking that the skull nature intended wasn't good enough??? (BTW, didn't they do mummification in ancient South America too? Is there a connection there?)

  12. Stop with the white washed lies,y'all know dam well king tut was not white,its almost 2020 we know the truths ,all the writing yourselves into history is over!!!!!!!

  13. Apparently these people havent watched ancient aliens. 10 out of 10 ancient alien theorist believe he was an alien. There is no way it could be as simple as head wrapping. That's to easy and it's not like there are people to this day that does this to prove that's what caused this shape. Alien……funny.

  14. There were no light skin people in Egypt at that time.please stop white washing African history! If you're going to explain history, tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

  15. Wow these ancient Egyptians just keep getting lighter and lighter.😂 Its to the point where Jarrod Butler Is depicted as an Egyptian.

  16. Well his head didn’t look flat it just look long, also since Egypt is in Africa I don’t think his nose would be that thin neither was his skin that light. It’s just facts

  17. LIES!! HIS FACE AND SKIN COLOR IS ON HIS COFFIN AND ON THE WALLS OF HIS TOMB. His image is Painted on "All" of his Furniture…..so he can be remembered in the after life. So "HOW DO YOU IGNORE ALL THIS EVIDENCE TO PORTRAY HIM AS A BOLD "MACAULAY CULKIN?"

  18. King Tut certainly looked nothing like that fake model. Hi Tut was a Black man. Queen Tiyé, a Black woman, was his grandmother.

  19. King Tut was clearly black with African features. This is disgraceful! Stop stealing other people’s history. Europeans are famous for that. Thieves! Keep your own history. Clearly, you are jealous of other people’s. They should all be fired!

  20. Probably cuz my cousin has flat head same thing probably can you tell me you ain't never seen nobody with a flat head

  21. Why is them being extraterrestrial never discussed as a possibility without laughing? I'm guessing it screws too much with religion if they started going there.

  22. Heading binding is still a practice in Africa!! Who sis this white boy???? King tut was a Nubian!! African black!

  23. Wish they showed us a normal skull next to them… I seriously don't see a difference.

    Anyhow, I have heard some people claim that Akhenaten wasn't 100% Human; doesn't science find it strange that Akhenaten has such a strange body and depiction? Why would he even be proud of such a body? There is so much hidden from that time period as if it was intentionally erased…

    I think it was erased because it would blow people's mind to discover that they weren't 100% human but hybrids who may or may not have been able to transition well in between 2 or more Species.

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