Mummified foetus, alien or hoax? This strange 12cm skeleton has gotten sceptics and believers debating.
The skeleton was discovered 10 years ago in a ghost town in the Atacama Desert of Chile.
The ‘thing’, which has been called “Ata” ended up in a private collection in Barcelona; producers of the documentary Sirius claim it is evidence of extra-terrestrial life forms.
Last year Garry Nolan, director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Proteomics Centre for Systems Immunology at Stanford University in America heard about Ata from a friend and contacted the people behind the documentary. He offered to give them a scientific readout on the specimen.
Among the deceptive abnormalities, Ata has 10 ribs instead of the usual 12 and a severely malformed skull.
Nolan took the specimen to paediatric radiologist Ralph Lachman who stated that it was unlike anything he had ever seen.
Garry Nolan hypothesised that the specimen was tens or hundreds of thousands of years old. His claims were backed by the fact that the Atacama Desert may be the driest spot on Earth, preserving the specimen for incredible lengths of time.
Upon investigation, scientists concluded that "the DNA was modern, abundant, and of high quality" and therefore likely to be merely a few decades old.
Further research revealed that the paternal parent of the specimen was most definitely Chilean. This would make it apparent that Ata is a human skeleton.
Several sceptics have branched out claiming the ‘thing’ is the work of a hoax to promote the upcoming documentary, but reasonable explanations have been given. One, for instance, is that it could be a mummified foetus of someone suffering deformity or perhaps even a mix between Progeria and Dwarfism.
William Jungers, a paleoanthropologist and anatomist at Stony Brook University Medical Centre in New York has stated that "This looks to me like a badly desiccated and mummified human foetus or premature stillbirth…[with] barely ossified and immature elements"
Currently – it’s almost 100% fact that the skeleton is of human origin but more studies are set to take place to clarify what exactly this thing is.