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Debunking Ancient Aliens: The Tolima Artifacts and Ancient Aircraft

Updated on April 24, 2012


The series premier of Ancient Aliens on the History Channel covers a vast array of pieces of evidence of alien encounters in human history. This article focuses on the golden artifacts made by the Tolima people of Columbia in South America. About a dozen of these golden artifacts bear resemblance to modern day air and space crafts. But how similar are they really? And does their existence really support the ancient aliens theory?

One of the Tolima Artifacts
One of the Tolima Artifacts | Source

The Tolima Artifacts

First, lets examine the Tolima artifacts. On your right, you'll see one example that received attention in the History Channel series Ancient Aliens. Giorgio Tsoukalos explains that, because these artifacts do not resemble insects -- on the grounds that no insect has wings below its body -- the most logical conclusion is that the Tolima people created these artifacts based upon either alien aircraft they witnessed or technology they had that was lost.

It's true, this artifact does bear strong resemblance to an airplane of some sort. But man has dreamt of flight, across cultures and throughout the ages -- the key here being 'dreamt.' Dreams and imagination are a skill possessed by all cultures. Isn't it possible that the Tolima people, with their imaginations, came up with an unusual looking creature, all of their own accord?

Another Tolima Artifact
Another Tolima Artifact | Source

Let's step back a minute. Ancient Aliens explains that there were hundreds of these figurines found. Most of them were clear representations of fish and animals. In size, they measure about two to three inches.

Now, look closely at our examples. In our first figurine, we clearly have eyes. The second figurine has what look like either eyes or antennae. But there are other characteristics that should remind you of animals in these figurines. In our first example, look at the back -- the "fins" seem to resemble frog legs. The wings have lines, reminiscent of feathers. There is even what one might interpret to be a tail.

Isn't it possible that these figurines are simply imaginative representations of fictitious creatures?

The largest flaw in the argument presented by Giorgio Tsoukalos and his fellow ancient astronaut hypothesis believers lies in their desire to prove that these figurines are actually replicas of machines capable of flight and demonstrate great scientific knowledge among the ancient peoples of the world. They take the measurements, blow them up, make some alterations, and viola -- flight!

But remember the size of these figurines? Just a couple inches! How did the ancient Tolima people make such incredibly accurate representations of these machines? Even if they were painstakingly accurate representations, shouldn't the hundreds of figurines depicting animal and fish life be equally exact? If so, wouldn't the believers on the show present such evidence to bolster their case?

A much more believable -- although that isn't saying much -- hypothesis would be that these ancient peoples were recreating crafts brought to earth by aliens. But that isn't even what Tsoukalos is arguing here! Instead, he argues that these weird looking figurines that could fit in the palm of a child's hand are actually scaled down versions of a piece of technology humans once had but have since lost.

The Tolima artifacts are a weak piece of evidence in the ancient aliens theory, but as always, Ancient Aliens twisted the truth and presented the information in a misleading and biased manner.


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    • James8269 profile image

      James Berg 

      6 months ago from Covington, KY

      I concur with the objection. “Ancient Aliens” is right; the overall shape does not resemble a bird or insect because it has a vertical tail fin but there are fish that have wing like pectoral and pelvic fins and a vertical tail fin. A flying fish’s general shape is very similar to the object depicted. Looking closer to the object it seems to have a humanlike face with eyes and nose and a belly button? What are those curlicues doing on the leading edge of the wings? I can’t figure a function for those curlicues. They look like a flight of human fantasy more than anything else. Though this object is superficially shaped like an airplane there are more logical explanations for what it depicts. My best guess is that the artist was trying to depict a half human half flying fish being.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      You are dumb you didn't debunk shit how do you explain cave paintings that clearly show aliens and UFOs and I live in Alaska I see red lights flying around in circles and moving like airplanes cannot do and no point in recording it cause people are going to discredit it like you are trying to do here

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I fail to see how you've debunked the Ancient Aliens theory in any way.

      "In our first figurine, we clearly have eyes. The second figurine has what look like either eyes or antennae. "

      What does this prove? We paint the nose cones of our aircraft to look like fierce sharks or other animals.

      "But remember the size of these figurines? Just a couple inches! How did the ancient Tolima people make such incredibly accurate representations of these machines?"

      The figurines don't have to be "incredibly accurate" for the shape of the machines to be right.

      This whole page looks nothing close to a debunk.

    • profile image

      jesse from sacra916 

      5 years ago

      what your looking at is the alien...... reason how i know that is because i recently encountered this new race of beings.... they actually fly. smooth and quietly with camoflouge. i know it sounds funny. but my lifes path crossed with theese beings and changed my life.

    • hockey8mn profile image


      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Cool hub. I think it is an insult to past cultures and write off their accomplishments to say aliens did it for them. After all, there brains were as developed as ours. To say they are stupid is inaccurate. We are no smarter than they were. I think my biggest problem with the history channel having this show is that they don't present another view. They present the science fiction side of the story, how about the scientific side. Voted up and interesting.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      have you heard of the pacific islanders cargo cult, where the island natives made replicas of world war 2 airplanes and started an airplane worshipping cult. I do not see why the tolima indians could not have engaged in a similar attempt to make replicas ( to the best of their intent and ability) of alien vehicles from advanced civilizations beyond earth. I think you need something more cogent in yr line of thinking to debunk the idea of a 'cargo cult' phenomena among ancient native people. This incident of scuptures drawings etc are not only limited to south america, we have ample evidence of all kinds of enigmatic and technical looking figurines, sculptures, paintings etc /records of ancient people that are hard to interpret from a strictly " oh they are wild imaginations or random artistic expressions of primitive people" ...not especially when you have depictions of beings with antennaes and technically detailed outfits with helmets and strange looking 'technological' devices ...which would be statistically very unlikely for ancient primitive people to 'dream' up . My feelings are that we in so called modern world need to open up a bit more and not be overly closed minded. The cosmos is an awefully infinite realm you know...and when you deal with infinity , the improbable becomes probable and the impossible becomes possible.


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