Professor debunks theories of skeleton’s alien origins

Alien and UFO enthusiasts were left disappointed again last month, as Professor of Microbiology and Immunology Garry Nolan Ph.D. ’89 P.D. ’89 debunked theories of extraterrestrial origins surrounding a skeleton found in Chile’s Atacama Desert and instead identified it as a humanoid.

The skeleton was featured prominently in the recent documentary “Sirius,” produced by Steven Greer, founder of the Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence and the Disclosure Project. The film is based on Greer’s efforts to reveal government cover-ups of UFO sightings and extraterrestrial encounters.

Nolan was given the opportunity to examine the skeleton after contacting the makers of “Sirius.” The skeleton in question is only six inches long and possesses several unusual characteristics, including an abnormally shaped head and an irregular rib count, as it only has 10 ribs while most humans have 12.

The producers agreed to send Nolan pictures of the figure, which Nolan described as “pretty spectacular,” after he offered to provide genomics tools that could examine the skeleton’s DNA.

Though Nolan believed that the Atacama skeleton, called “Ata,” could not possibly belong to an alien, part of his agreement with the filmmakers was to not be “pathologically skeptical” while conducting his research.

“I wouldn’t enter this and at the first sign of humanity throw everything out,” Nolan said. “There were anomalies and they needed to be tracked down.”

Beyond his curiosity in determining the origin of the skeleton, Nolan had personal motives for undertaking the project. When he contacted the film’s producers, Nolan was about to begin the process of setting up his lab for cancer research, which he said would “require sequence analysis of a very similar, very comparable approach.”

“I literally hadn’t touched a pipette…for 20 years,” Nolan said. “So it was kind of like, ‘do I still have the hands?’”

Nolan took the pictures provided by the filmmakers to his colleagues in the neonatal care unit, who referred him to Clinical Professor of Pediatric Radiology Ralph Lachman, a specialist in dwarfism.

Lachman runs the International Skeletal Dysplasia Registry, which contains information on about 15,000 different cases of dwarfism worldwide. Despite managing this enormous database, and seeing 700 or 800 cases of dwarfism every year, Lachman was not sure what he was looking at when first saw Ata.

“At that time, we didn’t know if it was an alien,” Lachman said. “It didn’t look, even on the pictures, like a normal human.”

After gathering sufficient DNA from the skeleton, Nolan ran the DNA through an analyzer and compared the sequence with a human reference genome, which he described as “sort of an average of all of the genomes that have been analyzed.”

Nolan said that it was clear that the specimen was human after the genome analysis, though the researchers could still not explain the skeleton’s unusual characteristics.

Upon Lachman’s request, Nolan asked to see X-rays and CT scans taken of the skeleton in Barcelona, where it was stored. The images allowed Lachman to more accurately understand the specimen’s many abnormalities.

One of the most perplexing questions Lachman encountered was the age of specimen at its time of death. Its small size matched roughly that of a 22-week-old fetus, but the high level of calcification observed in the legs suggested it was more likely a child between the ages of five and eight years old.

Lachman subsequently investigated several similar cases of dwarfism throughout history and found several, including a 19th century “circus freak” named Tom Thumb and an Italian woman who was six inches when she was born and 19 inches when she died at age eight or nine.

According to Lachman, another possible explanation for the skeleton’s small size and advanced calcification is natural mummification, a process that would have made the skeleton appear older than it is.

“The mummification process in the Egyptians has produced calcification like this in the intervertebral spaces,” Lachman said. “Natural mummification is probably a process that occurs if you in a very dry desert place. The body is lying there for several years, and it dries out and salts are deposited. That can lead to calcification occurring.”

Both Nolan and Lachman emphasized that their research is not complete, as they proved that the specimen is human but still cannot explain all of its unusual characteristics.

Nolan, who said that the skeleton displays a “rare mutation, if not one-of-a-kind,” has contacted a researcher from Germany in hopes of getting access to similar specimens in order to compare their DNA with Ata’s.

“If I do the sequencing of those as well, we could actually determine the cause of this,” he said. “If it had a similar mutation, similar genes, that would be fantastic…we would be able to sort of solve the mystery.”

  • JDLV

    ‘Humans’ can be, and are likely, ‘aliens’, and not the Hollywood stereotype.

    What happens when we ditch the idea that ‘human’ is an Earth-centric being, and embrace that it is a ‘universal’ being. Only then can we grasp the concept of universal life.
    Didn’t Einstein show us how everything in the universe is related?
    Why is it that some of our best minds are the most closed?

  • David Kaas

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  • Mark D. Williams

    If the Atacama humanoid is a mummified fetus, how does one account for the tooth that was observed by Dr. Lachman?

    Also Dr. Manchon of the Manchon Radiology Center in Barcelona examined the X Rays and concluded that the specimen was most certainly not a fetus and had lived for a year or more and probably several years.

    And further, how does having 91% human DNA “prove” that he is human? I can understand adopting a hypothesis that he is human, but at this point, it doesn’t seem to be scientific to announce that anything has been proven or conversely has been debunked. At most we can say, we don’t know yet.

  • B for Been Betta

    This article predictably leaves out the fact that Nolan discovered great stretches of base pairs that not only DO NOT match the human genome, but NOTHING we know on Earth! Furthermore, Nolan did NOT prove the being is human. His analysis was of mitochondrial DNA, and so he simply proved the being’s MOTHER was human. NOTHING MORE!

    Ergo, the possible extraterrestrial origin of some of this being’s DNA is NOT debunked and the headline of this piece (done by Stanford to protect its own credibility, I’m sure), is INACCURATE! That’s just another word for FALSE.

  • B for Been Betta

    Well said. Let us consider the source of this article. Stanford. Where Nolan is based. Obviously stretching truth in an attempt to get people to discount what’s right in front of their eyes.

  • John Cook

    How can he keep saying its human despite its being obviously more like a perfectly normal Fairy than human? I like the idea I’m closely related to a fairy like being. That tiny thing would be capable of flight if it had well designed wings. Made of skin n bone like bats or what would be really fairy like and beautiful would be adding a few genes for chitin and make butterfly wings. Then you get to design the ink lol.
    You know that we share 99% of our genes with the chimpanzee?
    No, that is not human but instead of trying to play that down they Should be exclaming over its similarity to us – it could be an amazingly close relative! Or an ancestor or descendent? Or a product we created during some advanced tech past…

  • John Cook

    I suspect Stanford of being a prime mover in the disgusting campaign to blackball Pons and Flichman with their “Cold Fusion” discoveries in ” Free Energy” field.
    The delayed the development of that technology by twenty years. Glad it’s busting out now. Thank you Internet.

  • John Cook

    Wow! That implies it could be the offspring of a Human woman and an alien male.
    Plus enough high tech and knowledge to make them match up and work. But the rate of change in technology is so incredible that I can imagine a Bart Simpson from a hundred years hence who has stolen Lisa’s Playtime delux version fully educational Gene Splicing Set…

  • Nathan

    How is this ‘disappointing’ ????? This is a six-inch tall humanoid that looks completely unknown, that has utterly unknown skeletal characteristics, and died at the age of up to 8 years old… at the very least its a completely unknown human relative. But instead of trumpeting ‘UNKNOWN BIZARRE HUMANOID VERIFIED BY STANFORD GENETIC TEAM’ we are given words like ‘debunked’ and ‘disappointed’. This article reeks of crushing the story. Professor Nolan should be ashamed, this is the single biggest moment of his life and he has failed to seize it. Very, very disappointing. Craven, short sighted and blinkered.

  • Marc Dantonio

    You missed the ENTIRE point of the article. Nolan was given the humanoid by Steven Greer who was CLAIMING IT WAS ALIEN.. You saw that right? Claiming it was alien? That part? So Nolan proved, DEBUNKED that it was alien by providing FACTUAL scientific analysis data and then Steven Greer was DISAPPOINTED.. So there are your two words, DEBUNKED AND DISAPPOINTED. What is really distasteful is GREER. His schemes have been extracting money from people who simply want to believe in extraterrestrials. The science says they are out there and it further shows that they are likely here and have been. But Greer makes you think you have to have a positive attitude and believe in HIM in order for them to appear to you in his presence… I said before and say it now, Steven Greer is trying to be a modern L Ron Hubbard. Hubbard famously said that if you really want to amass wealth, create a religion. So he did and scientology was born. I wont capitalize “scientology” because that would indicate recognition or respect. I have neither for that farsical pretend-o-faith. Creatures that live in volcanoes… Give me a break.. .Yet the Hollywood emptyheads swoon to it. Why not, they just want something to believe in too. Its perfect for them.. After all, they run around all day pretending to be other people.. Why not believe in a ‘religion’ created by a science fiction writer? It all fits!

  • Alejandro Varela

    it is very interesting anyway!

  • Darryl FukThat Boyd

    actually he didnt prove shit your pretty stupid to be so smart. please shut the fuck up… you have a lot of comments for someone not contributing anything to society

  • Mary Mose

    can you clarify what you mean when you said “Im mad that I got sonned in this debate”?

  • Mary Mose

    I think its kind of like 3rd rock from the sun. Only when the aliens make contact with us telepathically we arent aware that this is the case. Sprinkle in a little bit if apes touching an obelisk like in Space Odyessy, and alien intellect evolves the ape like McKennas stoned ape theory. Or maybe the aliens ARE the mushrooms.

  • Peachy

    he didnt technically say that it was alien…. he just said new

  • Marlane

    I see no “debunking” in this article. Nolan has no more answers than anyone else who has studied this skeleton.

  • Joze

    No … Einstein did not said that everything is related. Theory of Relativity and “Everything is Related” is not the same. They just share some letters.

  • Anna Parsons

    If humans are aliens how can they be mammals and share so much in DNA, physiology, and psychology with other earth animals? What you are proposing is close minded to facts in favor of your own fantasies.

  • Secret of Roan Inish

    Says the guy who can NOT spell, to save his life. And quite classy, too.

  • james

    Very poorly written article failing to mention that creature had a nine percent difference with human genetics.

  • Philip Kelleher

    E=MC2 implies that EVERYTHING is the one energy, and so, EVERYTHING IS RELATED !