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Scientists have finally discovered the truth after spending years baffled by a tiny skeleton that was discovered with a conical shaped head and 10 ribs rather than the usual 12.
Honestly, if this isn’t the weirdest thing you’ve seen today, you must be having an unusual time of it.
The bones were found in the Atacama Desert in 2003, and the strange find has since been nicknamed ‘Ata’.
The skeleton was found by treasure hunter – what a job title, eh? – Oscar Muño who was scouring an abandoned church near to a deserted mining town called La Noria.
If that’s not a decent premise for an adventure film, nothing is.
The remains - which measure just six inches long - were stashed away in a leather pouch, which was in turn wrapped up in white cloth tied with a ribbon.
No one had any idea what the bones were, though.
As you can see, the skull is a very unusual angular shape, and it also has slanted eye sockets, as well as having less ribs than the average person.
You see, most of us have 12 sets of ribs, but this skeleton has 10.
Obviously, there has been a load of speculation about what the thing actually is.
Some believe it could be an alien skeleton, and others believed it to be ancient.
That’s where the whole thing gets even more bizarre, as the bones have actually been dated to around the 1970s.
So, why is there nothing known about it?
Furthermore, eight percent of the DNA of the skeleton was found not to be human, adding more fuel to the extra-terrestrial theory.
Then, in 2018 the scientists from Stanford University in San Francisco and the University of California found that the baby died around 40 years ago, and had several genetic conditions that contributed to the unusual nature of the bones.
Dwarfism and other bone disorders turned out to be the eventual reason for the strange shape, rather than alien origin.
They believe that the skeleton belongs to a baby that died just after birth, or was born prematurely.
Professor Garry Nolan believes the bones could one day help patients by providing insight into bone disorders or helping those who have suffered bad breaks.
She said: “This research clarifies what has been a very public and sensationalised story for a long time, and it was done out of a desire to bring some humanity to this discussion and dignity to the skeleton.
“The DNA and images come from remains that were not known to be human when the research began.
"It has long been known that this skeleton was privately held in Spain, without any allegations of criminal conduct as to how it was acquired."
Cristina Dorador, another scientist, has called for the Chilean government to condemn the research, highlighting the potential distress it could cause the family of the baby.
She said: "We do not know how a little girl came to be buried next to the church in the abandoned town.
"We do not know if she was born alive, but we do know she was treated with care and love in her last moments, being carefully covered in a white cloth and a violet ribbon.
"From the presumed timeline of her death, it is likely that her mother probably is still alive. Given the amount of interest about the case in the media,
"It is also possible that the family has been forced to relive events from 40 years ago.
"But what is the fate of the girl of La Noria? A dark drawer in some place in Europe."
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