Pedro and Chiquita
Pedro’s tiny size led many to believe he was the remains of a baby even before the experts analyzed him. Indeed some thought he was the corpse of a deceased child, stolen and modified to deceive the credulous. However, while the scientific tests proved Pedro was no means contemporary or a composite, several anthropologists from the University of Wyoming and Harry Shapiro of the American Museum of Natural History did believe him to be an infant.
Shapiro reputedly undertook the initial X-rays and a lung analysis of Pedro. From these results, he concluded that the mummy was, in fact, a baby suffering from Anencephaly. Anencephaly is a congenital disability that occurs in the womb and leads to the absence of part of the fetus’s brain, skull, and scalp. Even if a child suffering from such a disease survived birth, it could not survive infancy. Size aside, parts of Pedro’s skull did appear to be missing, leaving the brain exposed- compelling evidence in support of Shapiro’s theory.
In the 1950s, Goodman lost Pedro, probably to a New York con man and the mummy has never been recovered. Modern anthropologist George Gill continues to make a case for anencephaly, using the old evidence- and recent comparative material. Gill, who works for the University of Wyoming first became involved with the case of the San Pedro mummy in 1971. In the 1990s, after a TV appearance, he was approached by a Native American family who presented him with the preserved remains of a baby remarkably similar to Pedro.
The little girl, nicknamed Chiquita, was mummified just like Pedro. Measuring only inches in height, her arms and legs were also in the same position as the San Pedro mummy’s. “Nowhere else in Wyoming do we have burial sitting up like that. Never sitting up with legs crossed and arms folded across their chest,” said Gill. “There’s a clear connection between the two of them, besides being in the same region.” While Chiquita had not been set to rest in a cave (The family who protected her had kept her in their attic), the remains had never the less been precious enough to guard for 500 years.
For although Gill was only allowed to analyze Chiquita on three separate occasions, he was able to establish her date of birth as being sometime in the 1500s. Despite her blond hair, her DNA also revealed the little mummy to be of Native American origin. But most compelling of all, the anthropologist was able to establish that she died from anencephaly. The similarities to Pedro lend credibility to the anencephaly theory. However, without Pedro’s body, it cannot be proven he suffered from the same condition- especially as there is evidence that suggests Pedro was not a child at all.