Pedro’s full height has been estimated to be 14 inches in total- certainly the right size for a baby. However, he also exhibited features associated with a fully-grown adult. The mummy had a full set of teeth and x rays also revealed what appeared to be the remains of solid food in his stomach. Furthermore, there were signs on his body that he did not die a natural death. The mummy’s spine appeared to be damaged, his collarbone broken and his skull been smashed by a blow that could have resulted in the exposed brain tissue.
Some experts reconciled this discrepancy between Pedro’s size and development by declaring that Pedro was, in fact, an adult dwarf. Local Native American tales tell of a mythical race of little people– the Nimerigar who lived in the area of Wind River and the Pedro ranges of Wyoming. The legends say that the Nimerigar ranged between 20 inches and three feet in height. They were gifted with magical powers and the healing arts- yet were also extremely vicious, hence their name which means, “People Eaters.” As with European fairies, it was unwise to cross the Nimerigar who would attack those who displease them with poisoned darts.
The Nimerigar also reputedly killed off those in their community suffering from debilitating age or infirmity with a blow to the head-, which could account for Pedro’s head injury. This injury, taken in conjunction with Pedro’s size and unusual appearance has led to speculation that the mummy was a representative of a now lost race that inspired the Nimerigar legends.
Physical evidence for a race of small people exists in the US. In 1876, The Anthropological Journal and New York Times both reported on a six-acre graveyard of between 75,000-100,00 ‘pygmy’s’ in Coffee County, Tennessee. The deceased were found to be “buried in a sitting or standing position.” Although they were first thought to be children, the skulls were found to have wisdom teeth, leading investigators to deduce they, in fact, belonged to “a dwarf tribe of people, about three feet high.” A similar find had also been reported forty years earlier from a site near Cochocton in Ohio.
However, none of these ‘little people” have been found mummified or buried in quite the same circumstances as Pedro. The fact remains, no matter what the similarities are between the lost mummy, Chiquita, mythical or actual pygmy races, without the actual body of the San Pedro Mummy, the best anyone can do is speculate.
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