Daniken's popular books.
Erich Von Daniken, starting with his popular
Chariots of the Gods, sold over forty million books presenting
his theories that the Earth was visited by extra-terrestrials
some 10,000 to 40,000 years ago. While they were here, he suggests,
they built the great pyramids in Egypt, laid down air fields
that can still be seen today in Peru, and interbred with early
humans to produce Homo sapiens. As evidence Von Daniken
points to the countless legends seen in cultures around the
world that tell of winged gods or flying machines. These were
inspired, not by flights of fancy in the teller's mind, but
by actual visits down through the ages of aliens with their
advanced technology. For more tangible proof Von Daniken points
to archaeological oddities found around the world. He suggests
that Egyptians could not have built the great
pyramid of Cheops without access to advanced technology
and it is no coincidence that it's height, when multiplied by
1,000 million, is the distance from the Earth to the Sun. He
also claims the famous mysterious lines in Peru's Nazca
Plain are an alien airfield and that their unerring straight
path for miles, even over mountains, could only be achieved
if their building was directed from the air.
As intriguing as the idea of ancient astronauts
might be, Von Daniken's "evidence" is less then convincing when
examined closely. The great pyramid's height is not a 1,000
millionth the distance to the sun. Archaeologists have found
evidence that simple techniques like barges and earth ramps
were used to build the monuments of ancient Egypt. Straight
lines, like those found at Nazca, can be made by simply planting
two sticks in the earth, using them to line up a third, and
then repeating the pattern for any distance needed.
As for his theories that the astronauts mated
with human beings, it seems unlikely that visitors from space
would be so biologically close to humans that they could interbreed.
Also DNA evidence seems to suggest all human beings alive today
can trace their ancestry back to a very small group of pre-humans
living in Africa some 100 thousand years ago (It is fair to
note this information was not available when Von Daniken wrote
his books). If this is true any genes introduced by visiting
aliens have not survived to modern man.
Of course these discrepancies don't prove that
Earth wasn't visited by ancient astronauts, but it is unlikely
such an astounding claim will be accepted without some equally
astounding proof (Like a 23rd century watch found on the wrist
of a recently unearthed mummy).
Strangely enough some scientists have speculated
that we may indeed had ancient extraterrestrial visitors, but
they didn't wear shiny suits or arrive in flying saucers.
Discovery of a meteorite
from Mars that contains what looks like fossil microbes
have led some experts to suggest that if Mars did have life
some of it may have traveled here via a rock blasted out of
that planet when the planet was struck by a large asteroid.
While objects found in this Mars rock are definitely dead, there
is speculation there maybe other microbes that could have survived
the journey. If so, they could have influenced life on Earth.
Von Daniken isn't the only one suggesting that
the Earth had ancient vistors. Robert Temple wrote a book called
The Sirius Mystery about an African tribe called the
Dogon and their beliefs about astronauts named theNommos.
pyramids at Giza.
Copyright Lee Krystek 1996.
All Rights Reserved.