Researchers made a mysterious discovery in Chile’s Atacama Desert in 2003. This tiny skeleton looked human, but had many features that left scientists scratching their heads. The most mysterious thing about this skeleton was its length. It is only 15 centimeters (6 inches) long.
When the images hit the internet, many people assumed the only explanation could be aliens. However, scientists didn’t want to believe in such claims so they took the skeleton in their own hands (literally).
Imaging showed that the chest cavity still had the remains of lungs and a heart inside.
However, even after years of research scientists still can’t figure out what this skeleton actually is.
The preliminary genetic results do indicate the skeleton is definitely of human origin, but about 9% of the DNA tested did not match the human genome reference.
Scientists threw away many possible scenarios like dwarfism, progeria, mummification, because things just don’t add up. For example in case of dwarfism the smallest person ever confirmed was 54.6 cm (21.5 in) tall while the ‘atacama alien’ is only 15 cm (7 in).
Many initially speculated that the remains were from a premature birth or miscarried fetus, though others disregarded the whole thing as a hoax. One of the most amazing discoveries from the analysis was that the ‘atacama alien’ was NOT a fetus and certainly not a hoax.
There were mature teeth present in the mouth and the bones were well-developed, with the leg bones showing growth plates that one would expect to see in a 6-8 year old child.
While the testing did provide answers, it also raised many more questions. How could a 6 year old child only be 6 inches long?
For now that’s all scientists can say. All in all, we still have no idea what this mysterious, tiny, alien looking thing really is. Here are some images: