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ResourcesHuman Research EthicsChileans Criticize US Scientists Over Treatment of Ata the “Alien” Mummy – Futurism (Kristin Houser | March 2018)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Chileans Criticize US Scientists Over Treatment of Ata the “Alien” Mummy – Futurism (Kristin Houser | March 2018)

Published/Released on March 29, 2018 | Posted by Admin on April 26, 2018 / , , , , , , ,
 


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It looks like an alien, but its story is much stranger. And now it’s causing an international incident.

This case provides a useful opportunity to reflect upon the respectful and ethical handling of human remains, which calls to mind the historical failures of national museums – such as the long-overdue repatriation of Australian indigenous material

Chilean scientists and government officials are protesting a study published in the journal Genome Research on March 22. It’s not the study’s conclusions or science they take issue with, though. It’s the study’s subject: the body of a mummified Chilean girl.
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Alien enthusiasts are pretty obsessed with Ata, a 6-inch-long skeleton that was discovered in 2003. Oscar Munoz found the tiny mummy in a leather pouch in a Chilean ghost town near the Atacama Desert (hence its name), and soon after, rumors began swirling as to Ata’s origin.
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Ata had a conical head shape and large eye sockets that looked straight out of a sci-fi film. The mummy was barely the length of a 19-week-old human fetus, but had bones as mature as those of a six-year-old. It also had hard teeth and only 10 pairs of ribs while humans have 12.

 

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