The truth behind a six inch ‘alien’ skeleton has been cracked by scientists who investigated the remains.
Named ‘Ata’, the skeleton was found in 2003 in Atacama, Chile, making headlines for its strangely-shaped skull and ten ribs.
Ata was found in a leather pouch in and abandoned church, bemusing many locals at the time. However, its origins are now known.
Ata is actually the bones of a six-year-old girl who had dwarfism.
Beyond that, a DNA study suggests that Ata may have had a genetic condition known as congenital diaphragmatic hernia.
Garry Nolan, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, said:
Maybe there’s a way to accelerate bone growth in people who need it, people who have bad breaks.
Nothing like this had been seen before. Certainly, nobody had looked into the genetics of it.
He added to the Guardian:
She was so badly malformed as to be unable to feed. In her condition, she would ahve ended up in the neonatal ICU, but given where the specimen was found, such things were simply not available.
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/3sgK6scxuQ
— 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
As per Web MD:
Dwarfism is a condition of short stature. It is defined by the advocacy group Little People of America (LPA) as an adult height of 4 feet 10 inches or under, as a result of a medical or genetic condition. Although other groups may extend the criteria for certain forms of dwarfism to 5 feet, the average height of an adult with dwarfism is 4 feet.
There are two main categories of dwarfism — disproportionate and proportionate. Disproportionate dwarfism is characterised by an average-size torso and shorter arms and legs or a shortened trunk with longer limbs. In proportionate dwarfism, the body parts are in proportion but shortened.
Ata’s cone-shaped skull, however, remains a mystery to the scientists.
They believe it might have been caused by oxcephaly or turricephaly.