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Potential extra-terrestrial being studied by scientists

03 June 2013, 10:25

In a universe with approximately 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets in it (as far as we can see) it’s quite likely that ours wasn’t the only one to develop intelligent life. Now we might finally have proof.

Allow me to introduce science’s latest profound mystery: the Atacama Humanoid, or ‘Ata’ for short. Ata resembles a small, fully formed human being – head, face, arms, legs, fingers and toes – except that he is only 6 inches tall (about 15cm). In 2003 the mummified remains of Ata were discovered in the remote Atacama desert region of Chile, South America. In September 2012, as part of the biggest crowd-funded documentary in history - Sirius Disclosure - leading scientists from Stanford University got their hands on the specimen to try to figure out what on earth (or not) it could be.

First was Dr Ralph Lachman, one of the leading international experts on skeletal abnormalities and dysplasias and author of the definitive medical textbook on the subject. Dr Lachman examined high-resolution X Rays and CAT scans of the specimen and concluded the specimen was not a hoax by any means - it was a real biological entity having died a few decades earlier. The anomalies he found were indeed curious: bone density and epiphyseal plate (knee bone) closure indicate an age of 6-7 years old when it died, the jaw contains a tooth, there is an enlarged cranium with large eye sockets, and the specimen has only 10 ribs (humans only have 12, rarely 11). Thinking previously that this might be a human foetus, Dr Lachman finally concluded that Ata was by no means a foetus, and suffered from no known deformity, genetic defect, skeletal dysplasia or any other known human abnormality.

Next was Dr Garry Nolan, Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr Nolan was able to obtain some well-preserved bone marrow from inside one of the specimen’s ribs for DNA sequencing. The sequence data obtained was of very high quality, but has only deepened the mystery: while Ata’s DNA matches human DNA best (in comparison to all the other creatures we have DNA sequenced before now), the match is only 91%. By comparison, Chimpanzee DNA is 94% similar to human DNA, so Ata is no more “human” than my Kia Picanto is a Sportage. Interestingly none of the mutations that would cause dwarfism, accelerated physical ageing or any other known physical deformity were present either. Dr Nolan is busy examining the 9% unmatched DNA and will publish his findings in the coming months.

So for now the mystery remains. Scientists from all over the world are scratching their heads while nervously looking through the data for themselves. Excitingly there are reports that more specimens like Ata may exist which will be examined too. Could Ata be the first extra-terrestrial being we have had the pleasure of meeting? Native people from the Atacama region as well as numerous other tribes like the Hopi Indians, Aborigines, San and Dogon have reported peaceful contact with small, intelligent human-like beings for centuries. Perhaps it’s time for our scientists to play catch up. For now Ata remains a 6 inch medical mystery, one that has the potential to change our view of the world and ourselves.

-          See the latest findings about Ata at:

-          Read Dr Lachman’s original report here:

-          Read Dr Nolan’s original report here:

-          Watch the Sirius film at Proceeds from the film go toward building a clean energy research lab.

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