Atacama skeleton

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Profile of the remains, dubbed Ata

Ata is the common name given to the 6-inch (150 mm)-long skeletal remains of a human that was found during 2003 in a deserted Chilean town in the Atacama Desert, hence the abbreviated name. The remains have been placed in a private collection in Spain.[1] According to a local Chilean newspaper, La Estrella de Arica (es), Ata was found in northern Chile by Oscar Muñoz, who later sold the remains; their current owner is 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 a total of 10 ribs.[1] Ata also may have suffered from oxycephaly.[3] Considering that the frontal suture of the skull is very open and the hands and feet not fully ossified, anatomist and paleoanthropologist William Jungers has suggested that it was a human fetus that was born prematurely and died before or shortly after birth. 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 ufologists have said they think that Ata is an extraterrestrial, this speculation is inconsistent with the human genetic material that is present in the remains.[1]

See also[edit]

  • Aleshenka, a similar fetus 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. 
  3. ^ a b c Jeanna Bryner (April 29, 2013). "Alien-Looking Skeleton Poses Medical Mystery". Livescience. Retrieved May 7, 2013. 

External links[edit]