A father and his 9-year-old son out hiking in a mountainous region in the western United States stumbled upon an unexpected and unsettling find when they peered into a small canyon.

The dad going by cannonflake on the social news site reddit claimed his son found this (see the picture below) human skull under “a big slab of rock that formed kind of a cave.”

Redditor Claims Son Found Human Skull in Western U.S. While Hiking

(Image: Imgur via cannonflake/reddit)

He explains that they looked around the area further — didn’t move the skull and were not able to look under it — and didn’t find any more evidence.

But as with everything posted on reddit, it can’t necessarily be guaranteed to be real and some redditors too question the validity of the skull, namely its cracks and color.

The redditor kittybearcub, for example, wrote that the chip in the skull above the brow line indicated it could be made of plaster. But kittybearcub acknowledged fibers in the crown could indicate that it is legitimate. Others believe the very white color of the bone might point to it being a fake as well.

Cannonflake said it was not a fake and posted a second picture taken with his phone’s flash off to try and provide a more true-to-life color.

Redditor Claims Son Found Human Skull in Western U.S. While Hiking

(Image: Imgur via cannonflake/reddit)

Alternatively, others pointed out evidence leading them to think it’s very real.

“It is legit. You can see the suture lines of the ethmoid bones and the maxillary bone,” the redditor pdx_girl wrote.Ryugi, a redditor claiming to be a forensic anthropology student, weighed in as well:

Hi there! Forensic Anthropology student.

Judging by the texture of the bones (it appears gritty and flaky) as well as color (sun bleached pearl white), as well as the absence of tissue or connecting bones… I would have to estimate that bone is very old (not that the person was old when they died, but the bone has been there a very long time). There isn’t sufficient evidence to link this bone to a particular sex or age at first glance. However, the individual was probably european or asian descent.

I’m going to guess it was a wayward hiker who met with an untimely accident. Unfortunately, those who don’t take proper precautions sometimes end up dead when they mess with mother nature.

Clarification edit: by “very old” I mean, possibly more than a year, but probably not more than 15 years, but it depends on the location. Regardless of the specifics, though, this person did not die yesterday. The texture and bleaching of the bones leads me to believe it’s farther away.

Cannonflake wrote that he has gotten law enforcement involved and that he’ll update the thread if any new information comes about.

He also responded to some redditors who were concerned about his son’s mental state over such a find, saying he doesn’t seem to fully understand what they might have found given his age.

Let us know what you think about the skull by taking our poll:

Update: cannonflake reached out to us via email writing that a forensics team had identified the skull as older than originally thought and potentially belonging to a person who was of Native American descent. The skull was sent to an anthropology department for further review. If Native American, cannonflake wrote it would be given to a tribe for burial. 

Investigators did not find any other items near the site. 

This story has been updated to also correct that the cannonflake is a dad, not a mom as we originally reported.