Thanks go to Cris Putnam for sending this link my way today. It’s from the Stanford Daily . . . as in Stanford University . . . as in that place that employs Dr. Garry Nolan, the guy who did the DNA analysis of the Atacama “alien”.
The story once again has both Dr. Nolan and Dr. Ralph Lachman, a specialist in dwarfism affirming that the specimen is human. What’s different this time is that Lachman offers some hypotheses for the size and apparent age incongruence. For me the take-away portion is as follows:
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.
I’ve been saying this since the beginning — that mummification might be throwing the results in terms of the “age discrepancy.” Given the Chilean context and the fact that this area in Chile has yielded mummies in the past, I thought it reasonable to presume that mummification might be a useful trajectory. As time goes on (presuming scientists don’t lose interest), I’m hoping this suggestion, now made by Dr. Lachman, will yield a concrete answer.
But as far as what is concrete (the DNA) the news is the same: it’s human. And an anomalous human specimen is still human. So, to this point, the scientists who have examined the specimen most closely, using the tools of modern science, don’t have it as alien or an alien-human hybrid. I don’t know how much clearer they can be.