Two infants were buried more than 2,000 years ago with strange "helmets" made by other children's scales, researchers found.
Researchers, led by the study's co-author Sara Juengst at the University of North Carolina's anthropology department, discovered the remains at a site called Salango in Ecuador and recently published their findings in the journal Latin American Antiquity.
The researchers believe this is the only known occurrence of children's scales used as helmets for the burial of infants, and they do not know what killed infants and children.
A child's face "looked through and out of the cranial vault" – the space that holds the brain – reports Live Science.
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The scientific report reports that a "hand phalanx", which is a type of hand bone, was found between the infant's head and helmet.
Scientists reportedly do not know whose hand was involved.
The archaeologists also noted that it is likely that the children's skulls had meat on when they were turned into helmets, since the helmets would probably not have held together without meat.
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Youngest was joined by a colleague at UNC, along with researchers from Yale University and Universidad Tecnica de Manabi, when reporting on these results.