On March 22, 15 years after the discovery of a strange humanoid mummy in the Atacama Desert, scientists put an end to the origin of the creature. They found out that it was a human child with a lot of very rare mutations. During the period of research from the submission of ufologists and conspirologists, Ata (so called humanoid) became the center of conspiracy theories and was used as evidence of the existence of extraterrestrial life.
where the mummy came from, how scientists came to such conclusions and why she became a popular character in pseudoscientific ideas.
In 2003, Oscar Muñoz went to an abandoned city in the Chilean Atacama Desert in search of artifacts and discovered the remains of a strange creature of humanoid origin: his body was incredibly small (about 15 centimeters), and the bones were deformed and unlike humans.
The skeleton was wrapped in a bundle and well preserved due to the dry climate in the desert: it was “mummified” in a natural way. Unlike humans, the creature had 9 pairs of ribs instead of 12 and a heavily deformed head.
The humanoid has become a worldwide phenomenon in 2012, when the ufologist and supporter of the theory of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations, Steven Greer, said that people can not have such serious deviations as Ata. He claimed that the researchers of the structure of the skeleton allegedly already confirmed that the humanoid was not a man.
UFOlog published several books on this subject, on the basis of which in 2013 they shot two parts of the documentary “Sirius”, funded by Kickstarter. The authors of the picture interviewed former US officials who spoke about the use of alien technologies. The second part of the tape was dedicated to a humanoid: it was claimed that Ata is evidence that aliens live on Earth.
Remains of the creature several times passed from one collector to another until they found themselves in the Spanish businessman Ramon Navia-Osorio (Ramón Navia-Osorio), which allowed scientists to conduct research. In 2013, this opportunity was used by a microbiologist from Stanford University, Harry Nolan (Garry Nolan).
The scientist decided to conduct an in-depth study of the “humanoid from Atacama” and came to the conclusion that it was a man. The condition of the bones indicated that he died at the age of 6 to 8 years. However, there were many questions: the sex of Ata, the age of the remains was not clear, and it was also unclear what had happened to her. Nolan suggested that this could be a form of dwarfism, but he did not have any solid evidence.
Even more questions arose after the conclusion of Paolo Viscardi (curator of the London museum Horniman). He said that the skeleton can not belong to the child and is more like a miscarriage as a result of an abortion, which died in the period from 14 to 16 weeks of pregnancy.
In 2018, Nolan and his colleagues continued their research with the support of the Mark Zuckerberg Foundation and his wife, Priscilla Chan. On March 22, they presented the results of a complete decoding of the genome of the “Chilean newcomer”.
Beginning as a story about extraterrestrials, it turned out to be a human tragedy. The skeleton belongs to a person with an incredible genetic history, through which we can learn something important to help others.
The scientists determined that the humanoid was an infant baby and found at least 64 mutations in 7 genes that led to bone development, premature aging and dwarfism. Some of the mutations have never previously been fixed in humans and have not been associated with abnormal deformities and pathologies of the body structure.
It turned out that the mummy is not ancient, as was supposed earlier: the remains were about 40 years old, so the child appeared around the 1970s. The skeleton is well preserved due to the dryness of the Atacama Desert, in which the organic material slowly decomposes. The scientists concluded that Ata was either born dead, or died shortly after birth.
The researchers will continue to investigate Ata, but they believe that the data already obtained can help in the treatment of children with genetic abnormalities. Usually in these cases, doctors are looking for specific deviations in individual genes, but it turned out that some other mutation, which they do not attach importance to, can lead to pathology.