Mystery of ‘alien’ six-inch skeleton finally solved after years of debate
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The bizarre mystery of the 'alien' six-inch skeleton has, at long last, finally been explained after years of debate.
Researchers can now finally put the discovery to bed once and for all after figuring out the origins of the mummified creature - later named 'Ata'.
Due to its odd-looking appearance, many people claimed that Ata was in fact an alien when she was first unearthed back in 2003.
The tiny figure was found in Chile’s Atacama Desert, hence her cute nickname, yet was only properly analysed over a decade later in 2012.
A radiologist later found, through analysing the remains, that Ata’s bones were around the same levels of maturity as those of a human six-year-old.
Yet she was just a mere six-inches tall. Plus, the whole cone-shaped head thing really threw people off.
The find became the centre of conspiracy theories - all alleging that Ata was an extraterrestrial being that had somehow wound up on planet earth.
However, science has since been able to explain away the truth behind the mystery skeleton.
Garry Nolan, an immunologist based at the Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, deduced that Ata's DNA was from a human being and not an alien.
Sorry to disappoint.
With that said, though, there is still a major mystery that was left unanswered as Nolan simply could not conclude how such a small human being could have the peculiar physical appearance that she did.
He said, as reported by National Geographic: "Once we understood that it was human, the next step was to understand how something could come to look like this."
Taking no time to get back to work, the immunologist then worked alongside genetic researchers at Stanford as well as the computational biologist team at the University of California, San Francisco to further inspect Ata’s genome.
They found that mutations were present in seven of Ata’s genes - all of which are involved in human growth.
Nolan then theorised that this mix of mutations is what led to Ata’s severe skeletal abnormalities - pointing to her unusually rapid bone growth.
Definitely not an alien - the researcher confirmed that the mystery six-inch skeleton most likely belonged to a human fetus who was either stillborn or died shortly after being born.
It's clear, however, that this new evidence wasn't enough to sway some people of Ata's true origin stories.
Steven Greer, an American ufologist, certainly did not agree.
"We don’t know what it is, but it most certainly is not a deformed human," Greer stated, via National Geographic.