The Ica Stones - Proof that Humans and Dinosaurs Lived Together?
Updated: Jul 25
Some things in life are accepted as being true. Like Rice Krispies only make a limited number of sounds, or birds are not real. Other things are apparently up for debate. For example, did you know that a farmer in Peru found stones depicting humans not only walking with dinosaurs, but also domesticating them? That's not all, some of these stones even depict advanced scientific and geographic knowledge. Could these OOPARTS (Out of Place Artifacts) be real evidence of an advanced, anachronistic culture in Peru?
Some carvings look quite compelling. The andesite stones have a thin patina of clay around them, perfect for carving shallow pictures in. This makes it great for use as an art project, for proving creationism, or for making money. You get to make up your own mind (the science and facts are quite clear).
The Ica stones were made famous by a physician named Dr. Javier Cabrera Darquea (1924-2001). He was given his first stone as a birthday present by a local farmer named Basilio Uschuya in the village of Ocucaje, near Ica city, Peru in 1966. Dr. Cabrera's father had collected similar stones in the 1930s.
Engraved upon the andesite stone he was given, was what appeared to be an extinct species of fish. Dr. Cabrera grew obsessed with the stones and the mysteries they held. Sensing a titanic discovery on the horizon, he needed to find more of these stones. According to the locals, there was a cave near the coastal mountains that was absolutely bursting with these rocks.
Dr. Cabrera soon quit his medical practice to pursue these stones full-time. He bought hundreds of stones from two brothers, Carlos and Pablo Soldi, who claimed to have tried and failed to get the archaeological community interested in them. Once their stock dried up, he went on to purchase thousands of stones from Basilio Uschuya, the farmer. Every stone was more groundbreaking than the last. What started off as a picture of an extinct fish, soon escalated to human-dinosaur battles and much more. After a while, the doctor had bought over 11,000 of the stones.
Eventually, the local authorities caught wind of the artifact racket. They arrested Basilio Uschuya, and he was informed of the penalty for grave-robbing and selling archaeological artifacts. Basilio cracked under the pressure and admitted to creating the stones with the help of his wife. They used a dentist's drill to grind away the patina around the andesite, and he buried the stones in cow dung to give it that aged look. The authorities released him and sent him back home with a stern warning not to lie about it again. Of course, he recanted his confession in a 1975 German documentary. Basilio then recanted his recantation in a 1977 BBC documentary, "Pathway to the Gods", where he showed the dentistry tools he used to make the carvings. He's quite the slippery fish.
Dogged Belief - Let Sleeping Hoaxes Lie
Unfortunately, a confession of a hoax has never stopped a determined believer. These stones mean so much to so many conflicting ideologies, who all tote them as proof of their theories. Young-Earth creationists point to the stones as proof that dinosaurs and humans lived together in a Flintstones fantasy-land. Ancient Aliens theorists believe that aliens came to Earth thousands of years ago and felt the need to record their observations on stones instead of digitally on their godlike technology.
These groups have clearly conflicting ideas. Nothing is truly ancient to a Young-Earth Creationist, as they believe the Earth must be no more than 10,000 years old. Fossils were planted, by the devil or god, to confuse and mislead humans into disbelief, is what the priests used to tell people. Here, we have a way to remove that honestly hilarious mental image. The bones were never buried by some supernatural force, but by humans disposing of their beloved pets and most large terrestrial animals in a Dino genocide. What else could explain the disturbing lack of dinosaurs in the modern world? Humans must have gone on a killing spree to eliminate almost every instance of a big lizard, except for crocodiles and Komodo dragons.
Ancient Aliens theorists cling to the stones as proof that some third party was observing human-dinosaur interaction millions of years ago. Some believe that there has been a cycle of advancement and regression for much longer than the established Anthropocene. Aliens aside, the likelihood of human history extending further back than 12,000 is getting stronger every year.
What evidence is there that the stones are not a hoax? Well, the patina that forms around the andesite takes a long time to form. Like hundreds of thousands of years. According to some observers, the carvings show evidence of this layer forming over them, too. Another piece of the puzzle was found under a house that had been built in the 1920s. Someone had taken the time to stash several of these stones under this house. That's 40 years before this whole debacle started, which could point to them being authentic or to a tradition of drawing dinosaurs on stones in the area.
The most compelling and unexplainable part is the stone that allegedly shows the Apatosaurus with the correct skull. See, paleontologists have been mostly guessing about which dinosaur bones match which skulls. As it turns out, they were using the wrong skull for what was known as the Brontosaurus up until 1979. The earliest recording of the existence of the stones comes from a Jesuit missionary called Padre Simón, who accompanied Francisco Pizarro to Perú in 1525. Examples of the stones were sent back to Spain in 1562, with no mention of depictions of monsters made.
Unfortunately for the believers, the most telling sign of the hoax is the incorrect posture of the dinosaurs. During the early twentieth century, scientists believed that the monstrous lizards dragged their tails along the ground like Godzilla. More modern thought has shown that locomotion would be nearly impossible with such a posture, and the tails were instead used to counterbalance the upper torso.
The stones have been compared to the Waldemar Julsrud Collection for their depiction of dinosaurs, allegedly made by ancient people.
The Truth - Somewhere in the Middle
While most of the stones are likely a hoax, there are a few stones that might be real artifacts. Unfortunately, the sheer number of fake stones will likely mean that serious study of the real ones will never occur. The hoax was after all inspired by the pre-Columbian art found in the region.
Some stones collected do show dinosaurs, others show advanced technology like telescopes and surgical procedures. Others show maps. The final category is made up of erotic scenes.
Dr. Cabrera collected as many stones as he could and kept them all in the "Museum of the Engraved Stones of Ica". He also recorded his thoughts on the stones in a book, "The Message of the Engraved Stones of Ica".
Honestly, the stones are fascinating, but not from a scientific perspective. They should be seen as an art project because that's exactly what they are.
Honorable mentions - Some of the Best Stones