22 March 2018
Tests on a six-inch-long mummified skeleton from Chile confirm that it represents the remains of a newborn with multiple mutations in key genes.
Despite being the size of a foetus, initial tests had suggested the bones were of a child aged six to eight.
These highly unusual features prompted wild speculation about its origin.
Now, DNA testing indicates that the estimated age of the bones and other anomalies may have been a result of the genetic mutations.
Details of the work have been published in the journal Genome Research.
In addition to its exceptionally small height, the skeleton had several unusual physical features, such as fewer than expected ribs and a cone-shaped head.
The remains were initially discovered in a pouch in the abandoned nitrate mining town of La Noria. From there, they found their way into a private collection in Spain.
Some wondered whether the remains, dubbed Ata after the Atacama region where they were discovered, could in fact be the remains of a non-human primate. A documentary, called Sirius, even suggested it could be evidence of alien visitations.