In 2003, in the remote Atacama region of Chile, small mummified remains of what appeared to be a tiny human-like creature were found. A film was released this week which unveils DNA results on those remains. To some people, these results provide more questions than answers. And the biggest question of all is if these remains are even real.
The film entitled “Sirius” is promoted by Dr. Steven M. Greer, M.D., who is a self-proclaimed authority on UFOs and extraterrestrial intelligence. Though the film’s scope encompasses more than just the remains known as “Ata,” this diminutive creature’s role in the film has garnered the most attention.
Critics have panned the film as recycled UFO fodder and accused Greer of peddling theories with no evidence. In the segments relating to Ata, however, Greer brings in some reputable scientists which lend some authority to the assertions regarding the remains.
In the film we learn that Garry Nolan of Stanford University’s School of Medicine performed DNA tests on the remains. He stated, “I can say with absolute certainty that it is not a monkey. It is human – closer to human than chimpanzees. It lived to the age of six to eight. Obviously, it was breathing, it was eating, it was metabolizing. It calls into question how big the thing might have been when it was born.”
Nolan said he can state “with extremely high confidence that the mother was an indigenous Indian from the Chilean area. The other thing that immediately fell out of the analysis is that it’s male. It probably died in the last century, if I were to make a guess.”
Here are some other pieces of information from the film and from papers published by Greer and Nolan:
- The specimen has only 10 pairs of ribs, as opposed to the normal of 12.
- The skull is quite different than a typical human.
- A non-fetal tooth exists in the jaw bone.
- No deformities or genetic defects (such as dwarfism) were reported.
- Although 91% of the DNA matches human DNA, 9% of the DNA does not.
- The remains are described as “many decades to centuries” old.
Below are some of the more common theories as to what Ata may be.
- ET/Human Hybrid - UFO and ET theorists point to the appearance and 9% unknown DNA as possible evidence of a human/ET hybrid creature. Some have dismissed the 9% DNA figure.
- Fetus Theory - Many have speculated that the remains may merely be those of a fetus. Both Greer and Nolan, however, flatly reject this claim. You can see x-ray comparisons of a fetus with Ata here.
- Deformity/Mutation – Some have suggested this represents the remains of a human afflicted with a deformity unknown to modern medicine. Dr. Nolan’s paper on the subject states, “ The specimen was concluded by the medical specialist to be a human child with an apparently severe form of dwarfism and other anomalies.” He later writes, “As the current list of human disorders is far from complete and many human disorders are polygenic, there might remain to be found a combination of mutations working in concert that lead to the observed defect(s).”
- Hoax – Some commenters around the internet have joked that this is nothing more than a plastic doll and the entire film is a hoax designed to make money. Greer points to the CAT scan as evidence: “There is absolutely
no doubt that the specimen is an actual organism and that it is not a hoax of any kind.” Though this would certainly be the reaction of most people, it is hard to believe that Stanford professor would sacrifice his reputation with such a statement.
- Shrunken Remains – It has been suggested that these are indeed human remains, but they have been shrunken in some way similar to shrunken heads. We have not found evidence that bones can be shrunken in this manner, and traditional shrunken heads are created without the skull.
- How could a 6-inch human possibly survive?
- How small was this organism at birth?
- Will the results be subject to peer review? (Nolan’s paper addresses this: “Full analysis of the DNA, and attempts to link genetics to morphology, will eventually follow in an appropriately peer-reviewed article in an accredited scientific journal. The results will be independently verified before publication.”)
- Why was there a 10-year wait to test the DNA?
You can watch “Sirius” on the movie’s website for $9.99, or purchase the DVD for $19.99.
A Huff Post article on the topic has been criticized for dismissing the results as a “disappointment” to those anticipating the film. “In fact, the film, which premiered Monday in Hollywood, features a scientist who concluded the little humanoid was human,” the article summarizes. Readers critical of that article have claimed that it over-simplifies the findings presented in the film and in the papers by Greer and Nolan.
We’re not really sure what to make of this one! At first glance, it surely seems to be a hoax, but with a Stanford professor’s reputation is at stake, we’ll wait to read the peer-reviewed article to make a final determination.
What is your theory regarding the remains?
Watch a trailer for Sirius below. Note that Ata only accounts for a small portion of the film’s overall content.
Below are some images of Ata.
- Stanford University Research: Atacama Humanoid Still A Mystery, Steven M. Greer MD, 22 April 2013
- Chile Specimen: Report and Summary by Dr. Garry Nolan