In a Study of Human Remains, Lessons in Science (and Cultural Sensitivity)

October 5, 2018

(Undark Magazine) – The subject matter was obscure, but the findings were provocative: A genomic analysis of a mysterious skeleton found in Chile’s Atacama Desert revealed that the remains weren’t those of an extraterrestrial, as was wildly speculated, but a human fetus with an unusual bone disorder. The study, published in the journal Genome Research in March by Garry Nolan of the Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology at Stanford University and his colleagues, was intended to put to rest speculation that the mummified remains might prove the existence of alien life — but the controversy over the remains did not end there.

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