Ata is the skeletal remains of a 6-inch (150 mm) human found in a deserted town in the Atacama Desert, Chile in 2003. Ata has since found its way into a private collection in Spain. It was found by Oscar Muñoz near an abandoned church in a ghost town called La Noria, 56 km to the interior of Iquique in northern Chile. Muñoz later sold it to a local pub owner for 30,000 pesos, who then sold it to a Spanish businessman, Ramón Navia-Osorio, who is the current owner.
Although initially thought to be older, the remains have been dated to the last few decades, and contained high quality DNA for scientific analysis. Ata has an irregularly shaped skull and is missing two ribs. Ata may have also suffered from oxycephaly. There are several hypotheses about what Ata is. Anatomist and paleoanthropologist William Jungers has suggested that it is a premature human fetus, considering the frontal suture was very open, and because the hands and feet were not fully ossified. An alternative hypothesis, by immunologist Garry Nolan is that Ata had progeria 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 have been found during his team's genetic analysis. Professor of Medicine, Ralph Lachman said that dwarfism can not account for all the features found in Ata.
During the DNA analysis by Nolan, the B2 haplotype group was found. Combined with the alleles from the mitochondrial DNA, it suggested that Ata is indigenous to the west of South America. While it has been claimed that Ata is an alien by ufologists, this is inconsistent with the human genetic material which is present.
- Aleshenka, a similar foetus allegedly found in a village in Russia
- Sirius, a film about Ata (and other subjects)
- Christie Rizk (May 1, 2013). "Atacama Humanoid Is Human, Researchers Say". Medical Daily. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
- Is this really human? DNA tests on six-inch skeleton of 'alien-looking' creature with over-sized head prove it was actually human claim scientists in new documentary
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