OXFORD, ENGLAND—Following an exhaustive six-year analysis of numerous inanimate beings, scientists at Oxford University announced Thursday they have conclusively proven that statues are our species’ nearest nonliving relatives. “While it was long believed within the scientific community that plush stuffed monkeys were our most closely related non-evolutionary ancestor, we have since determined this distinction in fact belongs to statues,” said Dr. Richard Hamill, head of the research team that carefully analyzed inorganic samples obtained from marble and bronze statuary as well as their nearby cousins, plaster sculptures. “In some key respects, statues are practically indistinguishable from homo sapiens. Like humans, they stand upright, and while they may be much taller or shorter than us, their limbs and facial features appear in proportions virtually identical to our own. In addition, the use of weaponry and horses by many statues suggests they possess the ability to fashion tools and domesticate animals, indicating a large cultural overlap with us as well.” The findings have reportedly come under intense scrutiny from a rival team of researchers advancing the theory that mannequins, which branched off from statuary in the 15th century, are in fact even more closely related to modern humans.