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  Columnist: Marlon Heimerl

Image credit: Hodder & Stoughton

The Atacama humanoid

Posted on Thursday, 9 May, 2013 | 8 comments
Columnist: Marlon Heimerl

Since the 6-inch tall Atacama Humanoid (nicknamed ‘Ata') first lit up major media outlets, the public eye has looked to its strange, distended face for answers. As interest persists today—not too shabby for something that's typically marginalized by the mainstream—people have become increasingly absorbed by the release of Dr. Steven Greer's documentary, Sirius, which rolled out the study and DNA results of the mysterious creature.

The Short and Skinny (Pun Intended)

Unless you've been living under a moon rock for the past few weeks, you've probably heard the final note in the Ode to the Atacama Humanoid. Yes, it's human. (Pause: This means something for everyone.) Yet, given the full body of evidence, is it too soon to queue the swansong for this mysterious specimen and Dr. Greer's documentary in general? The evidence says, ‘no'. Let's expand.

The theories and examination offered by Sirius don't end at the Atacama Humanoid by any stretch of the imagination (to order and watch the full documentary yourself, find it here). Throughout the narrative, Dr. Greer and his colleagues extol a genuine desire to break into a new paradigm, as expressed and supported by an abundance of rather compelling (and if nothing else), interesting evidence.

Beyond examining the Ata and its subsequent DNA tests, the documentary delves into subjects of UFOs, consciousness (and oneness), ancient aliens, nuclear history, free energy technologies, remote viewing as a means to commune with ETs, the Disclosure Project and perhaps most scathingly, assertions by Dr. Greer that the military industrial complex is reportedly keeping advanced and renewable energy technologies under wraps from the public.

Each note ultimately harmonizes in the documentary amid top-notch editing to create a melody of reported uncertainties surrounding America's knowledge of ETs and the advancement of propulsion and energy technologies.

In so much, Ata emerges a mere piece—though a big, shiny one—to Dr. Greer's greater puzzle.

The Anatomy of an Unknown

When considering the "hook, line and sinker" moments of the documentary, perhaps Ata is best described as a lure – for both the present and the future. According to an April 2013 paper by Dr. Greer, "Stanford University Research: Atacama Humanoid Still a Mystery," the specimen was first discovered in the Atacama Desert region of Chile in 2003. However, the humanoid didn't come to the attention of Dr. Greer until 2009, when he was invited to see it in Barcelona, Spain. Skip forward a couple of years in Dr. Greer's narrative and he writes about his coming into possession of the humanoid: "In the summer of 2012, Ramón Navia-Osorio Villar, President of INSTITUTO DE INVESTIGACIONES Y ESTUDIOS EXOBIOLÓGICOS graciously permitted our team to do further tests on the humanoid."

Upon receiving the specimen, Dr. Greer got to work with Dr. Garry Nolan, the director of stem cell biology at Stanford University's School of Medicine in California, who led the DNA testing. Working also with Dr. Ralph Lachman, a visiting scholar and professor at Stanford University and a leading expert in skeletal dysplasia and abnormalities, they soon took X Rays and CT scan images of the specimen to look for skeletal anomalies. Once Dr. Lachman concluded that the specimen did not fit the bill for any known genetic defects, skeletal dysplasia, or known human abnormalities, the plot thickened.

According to both the documentary and the paper, DNA material was obtained from the bone marrow inside two right anterior ribs. The DNA—that infallible code to which we turn for answers in so many analogous situations—would tell quite a story in the end.

Into the Unknown

In the documentary, a quick discussion surrounds the latent (and well-founded) fears of scientists when it comes to examining something so controversial. In science, reputations and credibility are everything; so it takes rare scientists to take the ‘leap' and do the world a service by touching that which most scientists wouldn't, even with a ten foot pole in hand.

Fortunately, Dr. Nolan implied that he was willing to take some "ribbing" for approaching the case with an unbiased, scientific mind, which is critical for moving this (or any) case from the ‘mystery' to ‘solved' file. His resilience and stated desire to prove that the entity was indeed human was certainly instrumental for moving things forward.

The Method

Using a Genome Browser to examine a schematic representation of the chromosomes of the Atacama Humanoid, Dr. Nolan arrived at several conclusions in the documentary that both reduce and add mystery to the scene.

In the documentary, Dr. Nolan tells it like this:

"The sequence that we got from the mitochondrion tells us with extremely high confidence that the mother was an indigenous Indian from the Chilean area and the haplotype is called B2a. Now the other thing that immediately fell out of the analysis is that it's male. It has so-called Y-chromosome material. In fact, it's got a full Y-chromosome. It probably died in the last century if I were to make a guess."

So, mystery solved, right?

As you just start to pack it in, Dr. Greer's documentary leaves a few lingering questions behind that beg further examination.

"It lived to the age of six to eight." Dr. Nolan says in the documentary. "Obviously, it was breathing, it was eating, it was metabolizing, and it wasn't living in an environment where there was a lot of advanced medical attention that was given to it to allow it to live to that age. It calls into question how big the thing might have been when it was born."

So the final mystery of the Atacama Humanoid is a medical one that takes us back to where we started – genetics.

On Mutations

With a long list of deformities to consider including a midface hypoplasia, a larger than normal skull, a vastly smaller than normal body and ribs numbering just 10 instead of the usual 12 (which is highly uncommon); if nothing else, a huge medical mystery emerges from the tiny shadow of the Atacama Humanoid.

Singling out PCNT, a gene associated with primordial dwarfism, Dr. Nolan also comes up empty handed in the documentary when looking at Progeria, which causes anomalously quick aging and could offer one possible explanation for the tiny 6-inch stature of the humanoid. Two viable gene mutations and neither are present in the DNA? What a mystery!

"There are genes associated with any one or two of the anomalies that we see in the specimen. But there is no mutation which is known to accommodate or call for all of the mutations." says Dr. Nolan in Sirius. "Even with the things that we know could be assigned to one or more of the anomalies; we don't find them in the genetics of this specimen. That leaves open the question, what genetics is causing the anomalies that we are observing?"

Dr. Nolan admits that other biological questions are at hand, including non-coding RNA and epigenetics, even adding that there are probably things at work which we haven't thought of yet. In short and by all accounts, the case of the Atacama Humanoid is still unsolved.


So much of the coverage surrounding the DNA results implies some sense of a loss in the wake of the Atacama Humanoid. As if people are supposed to be less intrigued because alien DNA was not the culprit? (Sure, that makes sense, but what can be said for pure scientific intrigue?)

Upon sifting through the evidence, the story is all but just getting started. For those in the audience who are ready to tune out and turn their backs on Ata for good, let's review:

  • Surprisingly, given its tiny size and the place and time it was born, the humanoid lived to be age six to eight (or at least one – see below). As witnessed in the documentary, the specimen is certainly not a monkey.
  • According to Dr. Greer's aforementioned paper, Dr. Manchon, of the Manchon Radiology Center in Barcelona, also confirmed that the specimen was not a fetus and "had lived for a year or more and probably several years."
  • According to the same paper by Dr. Greer, Dr. Lachman concluded that the specimen does not have any known genetic defect, skeletal dysplasia, or known human abnormalities at this phase in research. Moreover, "the genotype does not seem to match the phenotype (meaning physically expressed form of the genetics). The answer to this mystery will lead in further analysis of the DNA and confirmation of the findings through the peer review process. "
  • In Dr. Nolan's final report, linked in Dr. Greer's article, the path is set for additional research where full analysis of the DNA will be conducted, links between genetics and morphology will be sought and a scientifically accredited peer review will be published.
  • Dr. Nolan writes: "This report is not a formal conclusion on the nature of the mutations or the underlying cause of the disorder in this human specimen. Currently the data represents (conservatively) a 15 fold whole genome reading and as such is insufficient for definitive conclusions. Future plans include continued study of this specimen to establish up to a 50 fold WHS read that could point to targeted sequencing of hypothetical causal mutations."
The View from Here

While these answers, or lack thereof, certainly do not equate to "alien" or "extraterrestrial" origins—rather, the contrary, since it is surely human or as Dr. Nolan says, "as close to human, closer to human than chimpanzees would be"—larger scientific questions have been raised that should interest geneticists and scientists the world over.

Dr. Nolan later says that once the results are published, he is going to put it out on the web for the world to explore. With an eager mass of scientists from around the globe digging into the data, who knows what people can shake up?

If nothing else, the Atacama Humanoid coming into Dr. Greer's possession shows that he is rubbing the right elbows and shaking the right bushes for proffering up the next big lead in the search for ET. Not to mention, the video and contextual evidence put forth in Sirius is certainly worth a watch for hungry minds everywhere, even with the mystery of the Ata brought (somewhat) to light.

Article Copyright© Marlon Heimerl - reproduced with permission.

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