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Wyoming's 500-year old infant mummies mystery

”Chiquita” was born with Native American DNA, blonde hair and no brain nearly 500 years ago in the Pedro Mountains of Wyoming, where she remained buried until her mummy was accidentally unearthed by prospectors seeking gold in Casper. Now after nearly 74 years, scientists are seeking to unravel her mystery using DNA testing and other methods with permission of the family that now “owns her.”

"We never get preservation like that from any time, from any population," Gill said of the remains. Even war chiefs and very special burials are not preserved like these little people,” stated University of Wyoming anthropologist George Gill, who recently studied the extremely rare specimen along with colleague Maxine Miller. However, he did note that the 6”-7” mummy bears similarities to another anencephaly mummified infant found in the same region around the same time and originally thought to be a “pygmy.”

Anencephaly babies are those missing a major portion of the brain, skull, and scalp tcaused by a “neural tube defect in which the rostral (head) end of the neural tube fails to close during the early embryonic state (usually between the 23rd and 26th days of conception)/”

"Nowhere else in Wyoming do we have burial sitting up like that. Never sitting up with legs crossed and arms folded across their chest," Gill added. "There's a clear connection between the two of them, besides being in the same vicinity."

While original x-rays of the infant were lost during the 1950’s, when she appeared as a curiosity in traveling sideshows, Gill now hopes that more sophisticated testing methods will soon be able to reveal more about why this little Native American baby came to be a blonde.”

“Scientists are always progressing in the sampling and testing in the radioactive carbon dating and DNA, so we might be able to use less of a sample and DNA and get a definitive result regarding her genetic make-up.”

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