MEXICO CITY — For Jaime Maussan, a Mexican journalist and longtime UFO enthusiast, it is one of the most important discoveries in human history.
But for many scientists, these two tiny mummified bodies with elongated heads and three fingers on each hand, whose images went around the world this week when they were presented to the Mexican Congress, are an already debunked operation – perhaps -be criminal.
At Maussan’s office in Mexico City’s Santa Fe business district, staff members carefully carry the two closed boxes with glass lids containing the bodies into a green-screen studio, to which Reuters had exclusive access on Friday.
Everyone gathers around to get a better look. The bodies appear ancient and share characteristics with those of humans: two eyes, a mouth, two arms and two legs. Maussan says they were found around 2017 in Peru, near the pre-Columbian Nazca Lines.
He says he can prove that they are unlike anything known on Earth. On social media and during the hearing, he shared scientific analyzes and study results that he said prove the bodies are about 1,000 years old and not related to any known terrestrial species.
One of them, described by Maussan as female, was discovered with eggs inside, he said.
“It’s the most important thing that has happened to humanity,” Maussan, 70, said of his crusade to publicize the discoveries, sitting in his office ornately decorated with artwork and Colorful alien-themed accessories.
“I believe that this phenomenon is the only one that gives us the opportunity to unite,” he added.
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Elsa Tomasto-Cagigao, a respected Peruvian bio-anthropologist, is frustrated that such claims are still publicized, citing similar alleged discoveries that turned out to be frauds.
“What we said before is still relevant, they are presenting the same recovery as always and if there are people who continue to believe this, what can we do?” she said by telephone . “It’s so crude and simple that there’s nothing else to add.”
Previous such finds were dismissed by the scientific community as mutilated mummies of pre-Hispanic children, sometimes combined with pieces of animal parts.
READ: Scientists debunk ‘aliens’ presented to Mexican Congress
David Spergel, former chair of Princeton University’s astrophysics department and chair of a NASA report on unidentified anomalous phenomena, said Thursday that such samples should be made available to the global scientific community to be tested.
The testing conundrum
Maussan shared on social networks and in his presentation the results of the DNA and carbon dating tests that he said he had carried out on “the beings”.
A Mexican scientist, at the request of Reuters, examined the results and concluded that they indicated normal life on Earth.
Maussan told Reuters on Friday that the test results were not directly linked to the two bodies he presented to Congress this week, however. In fact, he added, they were carried out on a completely different body, known as Victoria, which remains in Peru.
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“They were found in the same place. They have the same physical appearance, they are the same,” Maussan said of Victoria and the two bodies he presented in Mexico. No tests were carried out on these two bodies to avoid damaging them, he said.
Maussan is no stranger to controversy. He has made claims about other remains in the past that have been widely criticized. He participated in a 2017 television documentary about other remains discovered near the Nazca Lines, which experts like Tomasto-Cagigao and paleontologist Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi said appeared to feature doctored mummies.
Today, he arouses the anger of Peruvian officials.
Peruvian Culture Minister Leslie Urteaga questioned how the specimens, which she said were pre-Hispanic objects, left Peru and said a criminal complaint had been filed.
“I’m not worried. I’ve done absolutely nothing illegal,” Maussan said.
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How the bodies got to Mexico is a question he says he can’t answer. Borrowed by Maussan for the audience, they are in the possession of a Mexican, who was in Maussan’s office on Friday and who requested anonymity.
When asked how the bodies – which he called Clara and Mauricio – came into his possession, the man simply replied that he would reveal everything “at the appropriate time”.
José de Jesus Zalce Benitez, director of the Secretary of the Navy’s Health Sciences Research Institute, participated in the congressional hearing, reinforcing Maussan’s claims. Now joining him at his office, he calmly explained his interpretation of science.
“Based on the DNA tests, which have been compared with more than a million species… they have no relation to what is known or described so far by science or by human knowledge” , did he declare.
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Julieta Fierro, the scientist at the Institute of Astronomy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) who examined Maussan’s test results for Reuters, sees much less mystery in the data.
She said the presence of carbon-14 in the studies carried out by UNAM proves that the samples were related to brain and skin tissue from different mummies who died at different times.
The proportion of the radioactive carbon-14 isotope absorbed by living organisms into their tissues decreases over time, allowing scientists to determine the approximate year the specimen died.
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On other planets, the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere would not necessarily be the same as on Earth, she said.
Overall, the results “don’t show anything mysterious that could indicate compounds of life that don’t exist on Earth,” Fierro said.
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