Atacama skeleton

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Profile of the remains, dubbed Ata

Ata is the common name given to the skeletal remains of a 6-inch (150 mm)-long human that was found during 2003 in a deserted Chilean town in the Atacama Desert, hence the abbreviated name. Since that time, Ata has been placed into a private collection in Spain.[1] According to a local Chilean newspaper La Estrella de Arica (spanish), the remains were found by Oscar Muñoz in northern Chile. Muñoz later sold the remains and eventually it was sold to the current owner, Ramón Navia-Osorio, a Spanish businessman.[2]

Although initially thought to be older, the remains have been dated to the last few decades, and found to contain high-quality DNA, suitable for scientific analysis. Ata has an irregularly shaped skull and is missing two ribs.[1] Ata also may have suffered from oxycephaly.[3] There are several hypotheses about what Ata is. Considering that the frontal suture of the skull is very open and because the hands and feet are not fully ossified, anatomist and paleoanthropologist William Jungers has suggested that it was a human fetus born prematurely and not surviving. An alternative hypothesis, by immunologist Garry Nolan is that Ata had a combination of genetic disorders and thus died prematurely. Nolan's more speculative suggestion is that Ata suffered from a very severe form of dwarfism, but no genes for dwarfism were found during his team's genetic analysis.[1] Furthermore, a professor of medicine, Ralph Lachman, said that dwarfism could not account for all the features found in Ata.[3]

During the DNA analysis by Nolan, the B2 haplotype group was found in the remains. Haplogroups identify human genetic populations that often are associated distinctly with particular geographic regions around the globe. Combined with the alleles found in the mitochondrial DNA contained in the remains, the findings suggested that Ata is indigenous to the western region of South America.[3] While it has been claimed that Ata is an alien by ufologists, this speculation is inconsistent with the DNA analysis of the remains.[1]

See also[edit]

  • Aleshenka, a similar foetus allegedly found in a village in Russia
  • Sirius, a film about Ata (and other subjects)


  1. ^ a b c d Richard Stone (May 3, 2013). "Bizarre 6-Inch Skeleton Shown to Be Human". Science Now. American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved May 7, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Steven Greer 'Sirius' Documentary To Unveil Pictures Of Alleged Tiny Space Alien (PHOTOS)". Huffington Post. April 16, 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ a b c Jeanna Bryner (April 29, 2013). "Alien-Looking Skeleton Poses Medical Mystery". Livescience. Retrieved May 7, 2013. 

External links[edit]