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Dropa (also Dropas, Drok-pa or Dzopa, Chinese: 杜立巴 ) is the name given to an alleged race of dwarf-like extraterrestrials that landed near the China-Tibet border approximately twelve thousand years ago. There is no scholarly accepted evidence that any such beings existed or any such landings occurred.



According to Chi Pu Tei (Chinese: 齊福泰); professor of archeology at Beijing University, in 1938 he and his students were on an expedition to explore a series of caves in the Bayan Kara Ula range of the Himalayan mountains, near Qinghai region. The caves appeared to have been artificially carved into a system of tunnels and underground storerooms. The walls, it is said, were squared and glazed, as if cut into the mountain with great heat.

The explorers are said to have found many neat rows of tombs with short 138 cm skeletons buried within. The skeletons had abnormally big heads, and small, thin, fragile bodies. A member of the team suggested that these might be the remains of an unknown species of mountain gorilla.


Prof. Chi Pu Tei was said to respond,

"Who ever heard of apes burying one another?"

There were no epitaphs at the graves, but instead hundreds of 30 cm wide stone discs - referred to as Dropa Stones - each with a 20 mm hole in their centers. Each stone disk was said to be inscribed with two fine grooves spiraling from the edge to a hole in the disk's center, resembling the Phaistos Disk. The disks were labeled along with other finds of the expedition and stored away at Beijing University for 20 years, during which deciphering attempts were unsuccessful.

When the disks were closely examined by Dr. Tsum Um Nui of Beijing around 1958, he concluded that each groove actually consisted of a series of tiny hieroglyphs of unknown pattern and origin. The rows of hieroglyphs were so small that a magnifying glass was needed to see them clearly. Many of the hieroglyphics had been worn away by erosion. When Dr. Tsum deciphered the symbols, they told the story of the crash-landing of the Dropa spaceship and the killing of most of the survivors by local people.

According to Tsum Um Nui, one of the lines of the hieroglyphs reads,

"The Dropas came down from the clouds in their aircraft. Our men, women and children hid in the caves ten times before sunrise. When at last they understood the sign language of the Dropas, they realized that the newcomers had peaceful intentions…"

Another section expresses "regret" by the Ham that the aliens' craft had crash-landed in such a remote and inaccessible mountain range and that there had been no way to build a new one to enable the Dropas to return to their own planet.

"Tsum Um Nui" is not a real Chinese name and it has been suggested it was either fictitious or was a Japanese name that was transliterated into Chinese, though the syllable "Um" is not phonologically possible in the Japanese language.

Further research

It is possible that the alleged Dropa Disks are in fact Bi discs, a man-made artifact. Thousands of these have been found throughout China, mostly in the Southeastern Provinces. Bi discs range in size of a few inches to several feet, and are most commonly made of jade or nephrite, with a round or square small central hole, similar to the alleged Dropa Disks.


Most Bi discs date to the late Neolithic Period (c. 3000 BCE), but are found up to the Shang Dynasty.


Bi discs from after the Shang Dynasty are usually more ornate, carved with dragons, snakes and sometimes fish, and were used in ritual ceremonies. Most Neolithic Bi discs were found in gravesites, buried beneath the head or feet of the deceased. It is theorized that this was to assist the deceased's spirit.


No Bi discs have been found to contain writing or spiral grooves as described in the Dropa story by authors such as Hartwig Hausdorf.


Wegerer's Work

In 1974, Ernst Wegerer, who is an Austrian engineer, took photographs of two disks that met the descriptions of the Dropa Stones. He was on a touring the Banpo-Museum in Xian, when he noticed the stone discs on display. His claim states that he saw a hole in the center of both discs and hieroglyphs in partly crumbled spiraling groves around them.

Wegerer asked the managers of Banpo-Museum for more information on the pieces in the showcase. The manager knew nothing of the stones' history, though she was able to tell a complete story about all the other artifacts made from clay. She only knew that the stone discs were unimportant "cult objects".

Wegerer was allegedly allowed to take one of the discs in his hand. According to his estimates the discs weighed around 1 kilogram (or 2 pounds) and the diameter at one foot. The hieroglyphs can't be seen in his photos, because they have crumbled away partly, and his camera's flash washed out the fine detail, such as the spiral grooves.

A few days after his visit, the manager was called away from her job without telling her why. She and the two stone discs vanished, according to Professor Wang Zhijun, the Director of the Banpo-Museum in March of 1994.


  • 1322:

    "That river (Dalay river) goeth through the land of Pigmies, where that the folk be of little stature, that be but three span long (70 cm tall), and they be right fair and gentle, after their quantities, both the men and the women. And they marry them when they be half year of age and get children. And they live not but six year or seven at the most; and he that liveth eight year, men hold him there right passing old."

    The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, 1322 A.D. - an English travelogue known for its occasional outlandishness, especially in discussing Cathay and areas unknown to most Europeans).


  • 1911:

    A report tells about repeated sightings of extremely dwarfish beings in Tibet and surrounding Central Asia. [1]


  • World War II:

    An Australian on duty with the Allies in Central China during World War II, never stopped talking about several encounters he had with a dwarfish tribe in Central China, even up until his death. He said that they were much smaller than the pygmies from Africa. African pygmies are about 140 to 150 cm tall. This claim is from the Australian's grandchildren. [2]


  • 1947:

    English scientist Dr. Karyl Robin-Evans travelled to the "mysterious land of the Dzopa". In Lhasa (Tibet), he met the 14th Dalai Lama. He was abandoned by his Tibetan Sherpas, who were afraid of the Baian-Kara-Ula, an area avoided by the local people because of some strange inhabitant there. After great effort, he reached his destination. There he found a few hundred dwarfish people, 120 cm in average, living in a remote valley in the mountains. Robin-Evans snapped a photo of the Dzopa ruling couple Hueypah-La (120 cm tall) and Veez-La (100 cm tall).


    He stayed there for half a year, and learned their language, history, and traditions. Lurgan-La, the religious guardian of the Dzopa, told Dr. Robin-Evans that they originally came from a planet in the Sirius-system. About 20 000 years ago and again in the year 1014 two Dzopa exploration missions traveled to earth. In 1014, they crashed in this mountain area. Many of them died. Survivors could not leave the earth.


    "Dr. Robin-Evans" eventually revealed to be an imaginary person from the hoax book Sungods in Exile, published in 1978, by the book's "editor" David Agamon.


  • 1995:

    In the province of Sichuan in Central China, on the eastern border of the Baian-Kara-Ula mountains, a pygmy village was discovered. 120 individuals, ranging from 65 to 115 cm in height, live a self-sufficient medieval life style. They were unfamiliar with any modern technology. Some think their stunted height was caused by high mercury in the soil. Others theorize that genetic configuration is the cause. Chinese authorities do not deny the existence of the "Village of the Dwarfs".


    However the village is not open to foreigners. It is located a few hundred kilometers east of Bayan-Kara-Ula mountains, almost near the east spur, where the provinces of Qinghai and Sichuan meet.[3]


Critics have largely rejected the above claims, arguing they are a combination of hoax and urban legend. For example, writer David Richie notes that the Dropa tales intrigued Gordon Chreighton, a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Society and Royal Geographical Society. Upon investigation, Chreighton judged the sensational Dropa-Extraterrestrial allegations to be "groundless," and detailed his findings in an article for Flying Saucer Review.

No traceable, credible evidence for the reality of the Dropa stones exists or can be proven to have existed in the past. Proponents of the story claim that this is the result of social disruption caused by the Chinese Cultural Revolution and of a conspiratorial coverup by Chinese authorities. However this story goes well beyond China. Its opponents claim it is long proven to be a forgery by Erich von Däniken.

Below is a detailed rebuttal of most sensationalistic Extraterrestrial/Dropa claims:


  1. The discovery.

    There are no mentions of 'Tsum Um Nui' (Chinese:楚聞明) anywhere; as he is supposed to have fled China and died in Japan in the 1960s; this cannot be negated by Cultural Revolution - Communist cover up theory. Also, there is no mention of the 1938 archaeological expedition to the Bayan Kara Ula range. No "Peking Academy of Pre-History" ever existed.

  2. Early Sources.

    The earliest mention of the story is in Erich von Däniken's infamous 1968 book, Chariots of the Gods. The book has been widely criticized as unreliable; in fact, the vast majority of names and sources appearing in the book cannot be corroborated, and no existence of the following Soviet or Chinese scholars can be found anywhere outside this story:

    1. Chu Pu Tei

    2. Tsum Um Nui

    3. Ernst Wegener

    4. Vyatcheslav Saitzev

    5. Sergei Lolladoff

    Most tellingly, Däniken gives his main source for the story as a Soviet science fiction writer Alexander Kazantsev; however Kazantsev himself disagrees with Däniken's account and says that it was Däniken who told him the story, not the other way around.

  3. Later Sources.

    The 1978 book Sungods in Exile "edited" by David Agamon, appeared to lend support to the story of the Dropa, but Agamon admitted in the magazine Fortean Times in 1988 that the book was fiction, and that its alleged author, a British researcher named Dr. Karyl Robin-Evans, was imaginary. Some websites claim to show a photo of Dr Robin-Evans with the Dalai Lama. A frail, old man assisted by the current Dalai Lama, the photograph is quite recent and can not be Dr Robin-Evans - who supposedly died in 1978, according to Hartwig Hausdorf.

  4. Translation.

    There is absolutely no precedent for a completely unknown language being successfully deciphered. All lost ancient languages have been rediscovered only because they survived in forms familiar to scientists. Even in such cases, deciphering and understanding these older language forms and their scripts has usually taken decades for multiple teams of highly competent linguists, and details of their findings are constantly being reexamined and updated.


    Many ancient scripts (notably Linear A from the island of Crete and Rongorongo from Easter Island), have defied deciphering precisely because they cannot be linked to any known language. Given these facts, there would be even greater difficulties in translating a truly extraterrestrial language. It is therefore highly unlikely that a single Chinese scholar with no reported background in linguistics could single-handedly decipher an alien script or language in his spare time.

  5. The Disks.

    All that exists of the supposed alien disks are several wide-angle photographs. The disks photographed, firstly, do not match the described "30 cm disks"; the disks photographed are very large. Secondly, the photos show none of the supposed deep grooves. Finally, absolutely no photos, descriptions, analyses or any other evidence of the actual 'alien script' appear anywhere at all.

  6. The Evidence.

    The disks were supposedly stored in several museums in China. None of these museums report any traces of these disks, nor can any be found of those supposedly sent to USSR for analysis.

  7. The Dropa Tribe.

    While reported to be a tribe of feeble dwarfs, in actuality the Dropas are nomadic herders who inhabit most of the northern Tibetan Plateau. The Ham are also inhabitants of Tibet, and traditionally have supplied Tibet's warriors: many of the 13th Dalai Lama's bodyguards during his escape from the Chinese invasion were Ham Tibetans.


    The word "Dropa", according to Creighton, describes the nomadic residents of Tibetan highlands, and can be roughly translated as "solitude" or "isolated". Furthermore, Creighton described the Dropa as bearing no resemblance to "troglodytes", or as stunted; on the contrary, they tend to be rather large and sturdy, befitting their occupation as herders. (Richie, 95-96).