Two newborns were buried more than 2,000 years ago wearing strange "helmets" made from the skulls of other children, researchers said.
The scientists, led by study co-author Sarah Juengst of the anthropology department at the University of North Carolina, have unearthed the remains of a place called Salango, Ecuador, and their findings were published recently in the journal Latin American Antiquity.
Researchers believe this is the only known example of infant skulls used as infants' burial helmets and they do not know what killed infants and children.
A newborn baby face "looked in and out of the cranial vault" – the space that holds the brain – transmits Live Science.
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The scientist turns out that a "hand phalanx", which is a kind of hand bone, was found between the baby's head and the helmet.
Investigators reportedly do not know whose arm was involved.
Archaeologists also noted that it was likely that the skulls had meat on them when they were turned into helmets, because the helmets probably would not stick together without meat.
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Juventus was joined by a colleague at UNC, along with scientists from Yale University and Universidad Tecnica de Manabi, in reporting these discoveries.