A tiny skeleton that was found in the Chilean desert 10 years ago, known as the Atacama Humanoid, which gave hope to those looking for proof that extraterrestrial life exists, has been discovered to contain human DNA, reports Discovery News.
The mummified skeleton is 6 inches long, has an elongated skull and only 10 ribs, as opposed to the normal 12 that humans have. The anomaly has mystified scientists for years and caused many to wonder if the little creature is actually a tiny life form that traveled to Earth from another planet in the galaxy. However, scientists report that tests indicate the skeleton has human DNA and was 6 to 8 years old when he or she died. It is believed that the remains are of a child who had multiple deformities.
Stanford School of Medicine professor of microbiology and immunology Garry Nolan told LiveScience:
While the jury is out regarding the mutations that cause the deformity, and there is a real discrepancy in how we account for the apparent age of the bones, every nucleotide I've been able to look at is human. I've only scratched the surface in the analysis, but there is nothing that jumps out so far as to scream 'nonhuman.'
Genome sequencing revealed that the skeleton had mostly human DNA, but there was still 9 percent that didn't match up. However, the mismatch can be due to a number of factors, including degradation, artifacts from lab preparation of the specimen or insufficient data.
So what do you think? Is the tiny skeleton really just a deformed human being, or could the 9 percent of nonhuman DNA unaccounted for still suggest that we aren't alone in the universe? Start a conversation in the comment section below.