29 Mar 2018
Posted in Archaeology, History, Tidbits & trivia

A desert myth, debunked?

Since its discovery two decades ago in Chile’s Atacama Desert, a tiny mummy has been generating rumors among the locals and the world at large. Have the fantastic stories finally been disproved?

In 2003, a six-inch-long “humanoid” mummy was found, and before long “Ata” was labelled Earth’s first mummified alien. Rumors were further fueled by a 2013 U.F.O. documentary, “Sirius,” that featured the skeleton (now in a private collection in Spain).


“Ata,” the diminutive Atacama Desert mummy.  Photo © Bhattacharya S et al. 2018.

Though tiny, the skeleton is remarkably complete. Scientific studies by teams from Stanford University and Barcelona’s Instituto de Investigaciones y Estudios Exobiologicos determined that it was a female; she was not a fetus, but rather had lived at least several years; she had 10 ribs rather than the normal 12 of a human; she had an elongated and proportionally massive cranium with giant eye sockets; and she was most definitely not a New World primate. Studies also showed that, according to Stanford’s Dr. Steven M Greer, “There is absolutely no doubt that the specimen is an actual organism and not a hoax of any kind.”

Ata was not a victim of any known deformity, genetic defect, skeletal dysplasia, dwarfism, or any other known human abnormality.

Conclusion? The mummy is not an extraterrestrial, but rather a young female human who likely lived in the 1500s and suffered anomalies not seen today.

“Given that this humanoid lived… centuries ago, it is hard to understand how a six-inch child could have lived to be six to eight years of age in such a remote and undeveloped part of the world,” wrote Dr. Greer in 2012. “Even in today’s best Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, we would hardly be able to keep such a specimen alive… Totally lacking in modern medical technologies and facilities, how would this child have lived? And with whom? Certainly there are many more questions than answers at this juncture.”

Further compounding the mystery is a report from researchers from the Barcelona university, reported Greer, “who traveled to the Atacama Desert and obtained information from the local indigenous population of sightings of U.F.O. and very small living creatures fitting the general description of this humanoid.”

Prehaps this mystery will live on.

Interested in visiting Chile? Email Jane Franklin at jfranklin@rcrusoe.com or call 888-490-8019.

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