What you see here is a real-life lilliputian, the tiny mythical characters from Johnathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels.”
This is not a hoax.
The tiny mummified skeleton has been baffling researchers since it was discovered in the Atacama desert region of Chile.
One thing so far seems pretty sure: it’s not a monkey, and it’s not an alien.
The face you see to the right is totally and completely human. It was born with a birth defect.
The child measures only six inches tall, but researcher Garry Nolan, of Stanford University, says it could have lived to be about 6 to 8 years old at the time of its death. The body has been lovingly given the name “Ata” based on where it was found.
The skeleton’s DNA seems pretty normal, and researchers have not identified the mutations that would have caused the deformities, but the answer is still lurking somewhere in the little human’s genome.
Nolan has sequenced the mummy's DNA 15 times so far (industry standard is 50 times to get a complete, high quality, genome. Because over time DNA falls apart, a small amount of the genetic code obtained with each read isn't usable).
Pediatric radiologist Ralph Lachman, of the UCLA School of Medicine, examined X-rays of the specimen. He thinks the unusually large head may be the result of a condition called turricephaly (also oxycephaly).
The face and mouth seem to be underdeveloped, which scientists call hypoplasia. They haven't isolated the genetic mutations that would cause these defects yet.
The pocket-sized person is no bigger than a scientist's eyeglasses. The bones of its spine, arms, and legs seem pretty normal, though.
X-Ray and CT scans matched the shape and proportion of the skeleton to those of humans, and prove that these are real human bones in this tiny body, refuting some people's theory that it was carved from whale bone.
Researchers also wondered if little Ata was a stillborn foetus, but Lachman estimated that the child might have lived to between six and eight years old when he or she died.
Scientists don't know of any form of dwarfism or any other disease or condition that could have caused this. Though Ata is human, the tiny skeleton is still a huge mystery.
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