Li Jianmin, Chinese sci-fi author and self-proclaimed UFO scholar, has revealed what he says is an alien skull.
The 55-year old amateur researcher announced his discovery at a seminar in Beijing last month, Global Times reports.
The purported alien cranium is brownish and measures nearly 16 cm in diameter. According to the author, it has two "distinct layers", unlike human skulls, which could mean that it has extra-terrestrial origin.
He said that he obtained the mysterious skull from a private collector who had purchased it from a street vendor in Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region in northern China. The collector was reading a book by Li when he came by a picture of a skull that resembled the one he had bought.
"The collector was flipping through my novel when he discovered that the skull looked very much like the one in an illustration," Li explained.
He produced a 103-page study over the following four months to confirm the origins of the find. The author said that he conducted Raman spectroscopy, a technique analysing molecular vibrations, and used an atomic force microscope to compare his find with other alleged alien skulls discovered elsewhere.
However effective, these methods fail to provide cast-iron evidence that the skull came to our planet from outer space — something that a tried-and-tested DNA analysis could do. Li said he has yet to conduct DNA tests, due to their exorbitant costs. In his words, such an analysis would have a price tag of around 100,000 RMB (over $14,000).
Jianmin has met plenty of criticism on Chinese social media, but he insists that the skull is real. "I welcome questions and scepticism, but if you decide to challenge me, be sure to bring along evidence."