's 2016 Horror Write-off:

Homo Parkinsoni

Submitted by rahkshasarani

Of the H. parkinsoni specimen, there exists no photograph. Alan Parkinson described it as a skull unearthed at the 1918 archaeological dig in Western Ethiopia, measuring 780 cc, larger than any gorilla skull documented before or since. The skull had an enlarged sagittal crest, indicating an impressive bite strength. The molars bore Y-shaped dentition akin to that of a hominid.The most notable feature of the skull, however, were the four-inch fangs descending from the maxilla.

The Parkinson expedition was looking for early primate specimens. They had found only a few bone fragments before unearthing the skull Parkinson lent his name to. In his writings, he speculated that the skull was a heavily deformed primate interred by its tribe, and even played with naming it Gorilla diabolica. His decision to re-classify it as a hominid is unclear due to the nature of his writings after that date.

The clearest timeline infers that shortly after the skull was dug up, August Pembrose, another member of the dig, called into doubt the authenticity of the specimen. He insisted the skull could easily be faked like the earlier Olduvai man, by sticking disparate parts together. In his attempts to remove the fangs, Pembrose was wounded. His hand began swelling up within the hour, and he was ordered to bed by the dig's medic.

The following day his body had swollen to twice its normal size. Pembrose was incapable of speech, and could not open his eyes. As the day wore on, his skin took on a greenish cast and began what Parkinson referred to as "doubletime necrosis." Attempting to relieve fluid pressure, the doctor opened up an incision in Pembrose's upper thigh. What he found was not fluid, but the gelatinous remains of Pembrose's muscle.

Pembrose's estimated death is somewhere between 14 and 24 hours after touching the skull. Rather than risk polluting the surrounding area, the company decided to cremate him. 

Parkinson's notes showed not a sorrow, but a detached fascination with Pembrose's death. He spoke of scrapings he took from the skull's fangs that he would test for toxins. For whatever reason, these samples were never tested in a lab. He ingested them.

Parkinson's notes become increasingly disjointed from that point on. In between describing the symptoms invoked by the compound on the fangs, Parkinson spun a wild tale about the devil-ape, a maliciously intelligent hominid that ruled over a tribe of lesser apes with dark magic. The ape encouraged practices such as cannibalism, eugenics by way of infanticide, and the violent suppression of other tribes. The devil-ape had forced its own tribe to bury it in ceremony as a bid to garner more power. The last coherent entry, Parkinson promised to unearth the rest of the skeleton and bring the ape back to its rightful place.

What happened was the opposite. Parkinson was struck by several seizures at a little after seven at night, dying before medical attention could be fetched. The skull, en route to Britain with several other specimens, sank when the ship capsized in the Atlantic ocean.