The mystery of a 6-inch skeleton that was thought to be the remains of an alien has been solved by scientists. A new groundbreaking DNA study has been undertaken of the bones, and it shows that the remains are in fact human and not alien, belonging to a baby girl who had dwarfism. The skeleton, who had been nicknamed 'Ata', was discovered in 2003 in Atacama, Chile, and prompted scientists to speculate over where she could have been from and why she had such a long cone-like skull and just ten ribs. The skeleton eventually found its way to a collector in Spain who was convinced that it was evidence of aliens, and a tiny extra-terrestrial body due to its bizarre appearance. Ata went on to feature heavily in a documentary called Sirius that examined the possibility of aliens.
After a total of five years of deep genomic analysis scientists have finally pinpointed the exact mutations responsible for little Ata. The genetic tests were done at the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University and have proven beyond contention that the bones were that of a human female that died 40 years ago. Initially, Ata was thought to be a child between six and eight but the analysis showed that it was much more likely she was either a fetus, or a child that dead shortly after birth. The genes that governed bone development were mutated, some in ways that were brand new, and she had several growth disorders and suffered from dwarfism as well as a fairly common genetic condition known as congenital diaphragmatic hernia.
Garry Nolan, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, is one of the doctors who began the scientific exploration of Ata back during her initial discovery in 2012 after a friend called saying he might have found 'an alien.' Nolan is interested in what the findings might mean for patients with bone growth issues, and the genetic impacts of the discovery: "Maybe there's a way to accelerate bone growth in people who need it, people who have bad breaks. Nothing like this had been seen before. Certainly, nobody had looked into the genetics of it. While this started as a story about aliens, and went international, it's really a story of a human tragedy. A woman had a malformed baby, it was preserved in a manner and then "hocked" or sold as a strange artefact. May she rest in peace."