La Noria, Chile, in 1889. Photo: L. Boudat y Ca, Album de las Salitreras de Tarapacá Iquique, 1889

Government of Chile investigates removal of indigenous girl's remains

The government of Chile has initiated an investigation into the removal of an indigenous girl's remains, The New York Times reports.

The girl has been the subject of intense scrutiny due to her malformed appearance and small shape -- she stands about 6 inches tall. Though some claimed she represented an alien being, she was in fact human and was of indigenous ancestry, according to a DNA analysis published just last week.

“It’s offensive for the girl, for her family, and for the heritage of Chile,” Francisca Santana-Sagredo, a biological anthropologist at the University of Antofagasta and the University of Oxford, told The Times. The Chilean National Monuments Council is investigating, the paper said.

The girl was reportedly taken from her resting place in 2003 in a now-abandoned mining town called La Noria. Somehow she ended up in Spain, where she has been exhibited to the public and treated by some as a sign of extraterrestrial life.

"No account has been made of the fact that this was a tragic little girl, born to Chilean parents who buried her next to an isolated, abandoned church," Cristina Dorado, a biologist at the University of Antofagasta, wrote in Etilmercurio on Sunday. "No attention has been paid to the important ethical issue that a team of leading scientists have undertaken a study on an illegally obtained human infant without legal permission."

The scientists who studied the girl's DNA denied any wrongdoing, with Atul Butte of the University of California, San Francisco, telling the Times they had "no involvement or knowledge of how the skeleton was originally obtained nor how it was sold or exported to Spain.”

The scientists obtained a sample of the girl's remains after learning she was going to be featured in a U.F.O. documentary called “Sirius." Their press materials from Stanford University School of Medicine describe her "permanent home" as being in Spain without explaining or acknowledging how she got there.

Read More on the Story:
Chile and Its Scientists Protest Research on Tiny Mummy (The New York Times March 28, 2018)
Was a Tiny Mummy in the Atacama an Alien? No, but the Real Story Is Almost as Strange (The New York Times March 22, 2018)
This tiny skeleton might look like an alien, but her genes tell a different story (The Washington Post March 22, 2018)

An Opinion:
Cristina Dorado: The girl from La Noria (Etilmercurio March 25, 2018)

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