Shroud’s Image Has a Brain the Size of a Caveman’s

From Gregory Paul, a freelance paleontologist, researcher, and artist:

The Shroud of Turin is again on short-term display. When I first saw it many years ago, I immediately realized it was a fake because of gross errors in the image. Yet many continue to believe it is the actual burial shroud of Jesus, encouraged by a body of pro-shroud researchers who were allowed to present their case without rebuttal in a two-hour cable documentary timed to coincide with the exhibition. The Catholic Church had long maintained a neutral position on the nature of the object, but according to the Associated Press, the pope has now endorsed the shroud as a photographic image of the crucified Christ, which is already encouraging belief that the shroud is what it seems to be.
Unfortunately, Pope Benedict did so just before I posted an analysis that shows that, although they do not know it, he and other shroud advocates are in effect proposing that Jesus was pathologically hypocephalic. This embarrassing mistake
is occurring even though it has long been understood that the image’s body is too long relative to the head. Having done some work on the evolution of brain size, I realized a few weeks ago that that if this is because the head is too small, then the brain has to be undersized. The results of calculations confirm that the brain volume of the shroud image would have been well below human norms, and in the range of ancient Homo erectus. This awkward defect of the image has yet to be noticed.
The actual explanation for the deformity is that the shroud is a Gothic forgery, small heads being a standard artistic convention of the time, and radiometric dating places the cloth at that period. Hopefully, the results of this analysis will make a major contribution to finally discrediting the validity of the notorious shroud.

Category: Expert Opinion


12 Responses

  1. Ted Krasnicki says:

    The pope said it was an “icon written in blood”. An icon is not the real thing, but a representation of the holiness in the subject portrayed. Mr Paul as scientist just confirms that many scientists have a caveman understanding of religion. Moreover, a lot of the mass media, particularly the AP, are not at all friendly to Catholicism, as the latter espouses a counter culture directly opposed to to the ideology of those now in charge have. Misleading headlines are just another one of the Orwellian tactics of the “secular” media’s attempt to reduce to the level of caveman the public’s understading of “the news”. The pope endorsed the shroud as an icon, not as the real thing.

  2. E Hendry says:

    The head isn’t small, it’s just that we don’t see the top of it – the image picks up the body in a straight ‘up and down’ fashion with no splaying to the side. The fact that the image fades away more or less exactly at the hairline should establish this, along with the gap between the heads of the front and back images.

    This theory of the head being too small is hardly new. When Shroud replicas are made, complete with blood stains, volunteers’ bodies have been found to fit, and they certainly weren’t ‘cavemen’. As for the Shroud image looking like an example of Gothic art, well… would Gregory Paul like to propose an example of an artwork of that era that mimics the verisimilitude of the foreshortening evident in the legs, and in the medically convincing bloodstains?

    I’m not religious myself but I think scientists do the Shroud – and science itself – a disservice when they dismiss it so out of hand. It’s not even as if it’s proof of anything supernatural – if it’s Jesus’s real shroud it is as historical an artifact as the death mask of Tutankhamun.

    Finally, don’t think you’re being trendily cynical by using a lower-case s on ‘shroud’ – in making it a common rather than a proper noun you’re implying it really IS a shroud!

  3. […] Gregory Paul says the image on the shroud has a brain the size of a caveman’s. Commentary You can leave a response, or trackback from your own […]

  4. Mario says:

    You should at least backup your claim with some numbers instead of a hand waving explanation. What is the height of the man of the Shroud?
    What is the height of his head? Give us inches, centimeters, something. You could try the tool at

    Remember that you have to take into account a projection of a body unto a cloth that has now been flattened.

    Essentially I can say that you have barely studied the subject and that your conclusion is currently grossly wrong. For more explanation please read the paper at

  5. Tom Rees says:

    Read Paul’s full article for numbers. It’s cited in the short article above.

    “The rear view shows both the top of the head and the heels, and provides a height a little over 1860 mm (6 ft 1 in).”

    “Deleting some hair atop the head and trimming off the end of the short beard, the height of the head is about 225 mm (8.85 in)”

    “The size of the face measured from eyebrow to chin in the shroud figure is normal. The shortness of the head is due to an abnormally low forehead…”

    etc etc.

  6. Gregory Paul says:

    It is disturbibg that in classic internet style some of the above commentators do not seem to have bothered to actually read my article before attacking it. It’s even got a scale figure.

    The “secular press” is not trying to distort the Pope’s opinion on the shroud, the Christian Science Monitor makes the Papal endorsement quite clear


  7. E Hendry says:

    I for one apologise – it’s not actually clear that this DOES link to a longer and more detailed article. I have now read it. I have to say, however, that I stand by my original comments. You do not even cite an example of a Gothic artwork with the convincing anatomical features of the rest of the Shroud body and bloodstains. You do not suggest how this brilliant artist actually faked the Shroud – attempts to recreate it have been unconvincing, with the exception of Nicholas Allen’s primitive photograph.

    And to claim that those who support its authenticity are somehow fraudulent when even the Head of the Oxford Radiocarbon dating laboratory concedes that nothing is that definite seems remarkably close-minded for a scientist. However I do think that TV documentaries should present both sides.

    The plain fact remains that the distortions and/or anomalies of the image CAN be explained when a mock-up of the Shroud is draped over a volunteer. Interestingly, another artist – this one pro-authenticity – states her case at

  8. Vernon Plank says:

    How can any length of cloth make an impression of a man who never existed? Bring me Santa’s robes and I, too, will believe. Folks, just go by the golden rule, do good things, be nice, and life will be much better for everyone, including our kids. Have a nice day.

  9. C. Wendt says:

    According to professional artist and expert Isabel Piczek, “The head is not small, as some claim, one just does not see the sides of the cheeks. But the eyes and nose measurements, also when measuring from forehead to chin, the head is absolutely correctly proportioned.”
    That is, if you look at the Shroud image in context, you’ll see that the general cloth itself, independent of the image, has intermittent bands of lighter and darker material which create visual “background noise.” There is a band of darker cloth running through the middle of the face, with lighter strips on either side, such part of the face is effectively “cut off” to the naked eye and the head comes across as being smaller than it really is.

  10. Gaston Gravel says:

    Do the same research on the pope . . .
    You should find the same results

  11. Stefano says:

    Isable Piczek “right” position

    that she must consider to permit the position of the hands in the front image it is simply not compatible with the rear image of the shroud.

  12. Bethany says:

    The body hovered between the two sections of the linen shroud (front and back). This is the reason for the distortion. See the following:

    Evidence of “Resurrection of Jesus” in the Shroud of Turin
    Joseph Amalraj
    Shroud of Turin is a unique historical artifact (object). No one has been able to make
    another such image on linen cloth. Fanti and Marinelli
    have found that the probability of
    the Shroud of Turin wrapping the body of Jesus to be close to 100%. Others
    have found
    that it is not a painting. This article discusses the evidence of Resurrection of Jesus in the
    Shroud of Turin.
    1. Image is not present where the blood is present on the Shroud of Turin.
    There is no image formed under the blood stains
    . This means that the image was
    formed some time after the burial. At 23°C, within 30 hours of a person’s death,
    liquid decomposition products appear on the surface of the body2. There are no signs
    of such products on the Shroud and this indicates that the image was formed in a short
    time after the blood had seeped into the cloth (after burial).
    2. Spectra and photography have confirmed that the entire image was formed by the same
    . So this either should have been a contact mechanism or a non-contact
    mechanism. If part of the Shroud was touching the body when the image was formed
    and another part of the Shroud was not touching the body, then the portions of the
    image where the Shroud touched the body would appear different than the portions of
    the body where the Shroud did not touch the body. As the Shroud could not have
    touched the whole body, the image should have been formed when the entire Shroud
    was not touching the body.
    3. Isabel Piczek3 has found that
    • The Shroud face shows no distortions
    • The back of the body, which has lying on rocks, also shows no depression
    from rocks.
    Based on the above findings, she says that it is not possible for the image to have formed
    on the cloth as shown in figure 1.
    Figure 1:
    Page 2
    But the image would have formed when the body was hovering (suspended in
    weightlessness) between the upper portion of the cloth and the lower portion of the cloth.
    And both the upper and lower portions of the cloth would have been absolutely flat when
    the image was formed

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