It was thought at one point that it could actually be the remains of an alien.
A skeleton—which was named “Ata”—was found in Atacama, Chile in 2003. Headlines were made because of its 10 pairs of ribs and the curious shape of its head.
There should have been 12 pairs of ribs.
The skeleton was found inside of a leather pouch, which was discovered inside of a church. Locals were bewildered by the finding; however, it seems as if the true source of Ata’s origins are now known.
“Ata” is not an alien; the bones belong to a girl who died at a young age. She was between 6 years old and 8 years old at the time of her death— she also had dwarfism.
In addition to the likely dwarfism, DNA analysis indicates that Ata may have had congenital diaphragmatic hernia, which is a genetic condition. In cases of that condition, the diaphragm fails to form properly.
At one point the skeleton was believed to be ancient; however, it has been proved that Ata’s skeleton is only about 40 years old.
A professor of microbiology and immunology named Garry Nolan weighed in on Ata’s case.
Nolan, who teaches at Stanford University, said that nothing like this has been seen before.
Nolan also said that Ata was so badly malformed that it would not have been possible to feed her. In her condition, she would have needed to be in a neonatal intensive care unit. However, because of the location of the skeleton, such a care unit would not have existed.
Atacama—where Ata was found—is actually the driest desert in the world. There is less precipitation there than in the polar deserts. It is located west of the Andes on the Pacific Coast.
Scientists Have Analyzed The Genome Of This Freaky 6-inch Skeleton Known As The “Atacama Alien”
— Skeletons (@skeleton_news) March 22, 2018
Yes and I’m gonna have nightmares now https://t.co/3sgK6scxuQtest ad
— rachel Ⓥ (@VeganRachel) March 19, 2018
Not an alien: Scientists explain what caused girl’s 6-inch skeleton and cone head https://t.co/oRScEzA7o7
— Bradenton Herald (@bradentonherald) March 22, 2018
While we now know for sure that Ata wasn’t an extraterrestrial being, there are definitely still questions that need to be answered. For example, scientists still can’t properly explain that shape of Ata’s skull. Scientists believe it may have been caused by a condition called oxycephaly—also known as turricephaly—which is a disorder that results in a cone-shaped head due to a premature closure of the tissue joint that separates the parietal and frontal bones of the skull.
Oxycephaly is a cephalic disorder, which means that it occurs as a consequence of the abnormal development of—or damage to—a budding nervous system. Cephalic disorders are congenital conditions, meaning that they are present at birth.
We do know that Ata suffered from dwarfism. In human beings, a person with dwarfism is typically defined as being shorter than 147 centimeters. Depending on the cause, it can be treated with physical therapy, surgery, or hormone replacement therapy.
Dwarfism can be the result of several medical conditions, so there are a variety of causes and symptoms. There could be a deficiency of the growth hormone, also known as GHD. There are many causes of GHD, including poor nutrition, Turner’s syndrome, and Laron syndrome. Stress can even result in dwarfism.
In human beings, achondroplasia is the most common form of dwarfism, and it is a genetic disorder. It is the most recognizable form because those with achondroplasia because tend to have large heads and also disproportionately short limbs. Curvature of the spine is also increased.
The mystery is solved for now. Ata is not an extraterrestrial being; that won’t stop people from hoping to encounter creatures from outside of our galaxy, however. For example, ufology—the study of unidentified flying objects—is alive and well in many parts of the world.
In the United States, there are hundreds of groups and affiliated organizations interested in the investigation into UFOs. There is a National UFO Reporting Center, and it has been around since the mid-1970’s. There are also groups in the United Kingdom and Australia.
There is even a World UFO Day, which is celebrated on July 2 in multiple countries, including the United States, Canada, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Belgium, Korea, Brazil, Hong Kong, Germany, and Japan. One of the goals of the day is to try to get the governments of the world to admit the “truth” about visits from extraterrestrials. People celebrating look to the skies on World UFO Day, watching for Unidentified Flying Objects.