Ancient ‘Alien Skeleton’ Isn’t an Alien

No, this isn’t an alien skeleton — it’s actually an ancient mutated human. The mummy of “Ata” was found in the Atacama Desert in 2003. Its abnormal body left experts stumped for years, but it recently went through a genetic analysis, which confirmed Ata is definitely a human. The new analysis revealed Ata was likely a Chilean girl who died while developing in the womb died while developing in the womb, suffering from a bone-aging disorder. DNA extracted from bone marrow showed that Ata suffered from different genetic mutations mostly associated with bone development and other mutations never before discovered in humans. A 2013 analysis done by Stanford University School of Medicine initially determined Ata appeared to be between the age of 6 and 8 years old when she died. The mummy features an elongated skull with an undeveloped face, and only has 10 ribs instead of the normal 12. Some researchers thought Ata had dwarfism while others though it was an aborted fetus. Atul Butte, of the Institute for Computational Health Sciences, stated, “We went searching for rare mutations — mutations that we really haven’t seen in other humans that have been sequenced so far, with the thinking that it must have been something very rare to cause this condition, which really hasn’t been seen elsewhere before.” The discovery of Ata might sound tragic, but it helps modern scientists with genetic disease and diagnosis.

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