Historical Details

Mummy of Ancient Race Believed Found Near Casper

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 11/22/1934

An archaeological, or biological, specimen, in the form of a mummified pygmy believed by scientist to be a progenitor of the present human race, has been on exhibition in Lusk this week and has attracted widespread attention.

The mummy is owned and is being exhibited by Homer F. Sherrill of Crawford, Neb., and it has puzzled scientists in various parts of the country, where it was sent by Mr. Sherrill in an attempt to have it classified.

The mummy was unearthed in a tiny cave on a slope of one of the peaks of Pedro Mountains, a range of the Rockies, about 70 miles south and west of Casper, Wyo., by two gold prospectors, Frank Carr of Casper, now deceased, and Cecil M. main, a boy until recently stationed at Fort Robinson, Neb., in a CCC camp. Sherrill secured the mummy from Main.

It was in the summer of 1932 that main got together a grubstake and with Carr, his prospecting pal, set out to hunt for gold in the Pedro Mountains.

Digging into the side of the mountain with a prospector’s pick, aided by an occasional charge of dynamite, Main and Carr unearthed a small cave with one explosion in which the miniature man was found seated with arms folded, head bowed slightly and legs folded about it in a squatting position.

Main had to crawl on his hands and knees to gain entrance.

Lighting a match, Main said a creepy sensation came over him, as he picked the mummy up and made his way out, where he showed his find to his pal. Carr immediately gave vent to a stream of profanity, and made Main throw the mummy over in the weeds. However, Main remembered where he had tossed it, and while his pal slept in the night, he returned to get the mummy, wrapping it in his coat and storing it among his scant possessions without Carr’s knowledge.

In its present state, the mummy measures about 6 ½ inches. In life, it is supposed to have been a man, or boy, about, 20 or 24 inches high. Its gender has been definitely established as a male, about 16 years of age.

The facial characteristics are decidedly those of an Indian, with the low forehead, broad nose, and bronze skin. The top of the head appears unnatural, almost as if it had been scalped. Probably moisture dripping from the ceiling of the cave in which it had been found may have caused the alteration in its appearance. A fringe of heavy blonde hair adorns the back of the neck and traces of fine hair may be seen over the body. The arms are unusually long in comparison with the height.

Among the scientists examining the mummy are Dr. L.E. Parkins of Boston, secretary of the post-graduate course, of Harvard University. It was examined by the curator of the anthropological department of Harvard Museum and curator of the Egyptian department of the Boston Museum. These scientists said they had never seen such a specimen. They reached the conclusion that the mummy had been place in the cave during the post glacial period of the Pliocene age.

Dr. Henry Fairfield, noted scientist, says there existed in North America about the middle of the Pliocene period, a high form of anthropoid, with a leaning to the human side, to which he had given the name of Hesperopithecus. All he builds upon, however, is two imperfect molar teeth.

The fact that the mummy, in life, must have been able to exercise the normal functions of any adult human, is disclosed by the fact that X-ray examination has shown it to have perfect bone formations, backbone, arms, legs-not at all unlike those of the skeletons of today. It is still in a remarkable state of preservation and its well-developed muscles are apparent. The X-ray examinations have also disclosed that there is food, or its remains, in the stomach, and that the spinal column was fully developed and natural.

Further evidence that the specimen was probably normal is the fact that the X-ray plainly shows a fracture of the clavicle bone in the shoulder which did not knit. Another fracture of one of the leg bones is also shown, but afterward healed over. A few scars, made by flesh wounds, are also discernible on his back.

Scientist claim the specimen to have existed previous to the little tree men, who existed about the same time as the dinosaur, whose bones are now being dug up in many parts of Wyoming.

Great migrations of pre-historic times, announced by the mapped illustrations of the Smithsonian Institute, probably may have some hearing on this race of people whence came this specimen. Those maps revealed the routes along which prehistoric tribes marched for generations from west of the Mississippi toward the Atlantic Ocean, pioneering in exactly the opposite taken by the whites.

The migration trails lead from the northwest and southwest across the Mississippi. They were the last laps of an age-long trek by which scientists believe nomadic Asiatic tribes gradually pushed through Siberia, across the Bering Strait into Alaska and sown the American west coast. The American Indian is believed to be the offspring of this race.

In the Beartooth mountains of Montana, about 300 miles northwest of the spot in Wyoming where this specimen was found, archaeologists are finding more and more evidence that leads them to credit the theory that this section of the United States may have been the birthplace of man.

Prof. Glen L. Jepsen of Princeton University found thirty well developed primate skulls in the Beartooth mountains. The skulls were the first evidence that primates, from which man descended, lived 135 to 175 million years ago.

Scientists declare that Dr. Jepsen’s discovery definitely upsets many theories of man’s origin.

The ruins of ancient pygmy towns have recently been discovered in old Mexico, which lends a degree of authenticity to the discovery in Wyoming. The ruins of these towns have been unearthed about 46 miles south of Durango City, by Prof. Everardo Gamiz, who claims that they are the most important archaeological ruins on the American continent.

The mummy found there was of a man 16 inches tall, together with several pieces of pottery and tools, which have been preserved.

Prof. Gamiz declares that the pygmies enjoyed a high degree of civilization.

Authenticity of Pygmy Mummy is Denied, Affirmed
The Lusk Herald, December 13, 1934

Museum Says It's a Premature Indian Child; Sherill Maintains It's a Real Mummy

The status of the specimen exhibited in Lusk a few weeks ago, alternately claimed to be a mummy of a prehistoric man, and a prematurely born Indian babe, is still in question

It is said that the American Museum of Natural History has identified the strange mummified human form found in a cave in the Pedro mountains, 70 miles southwest of Casper, to be a prematurely born baby on which the flesh dried in a cave.

The specimen is not necessarily old, the museum scientists replied in response to a query by the Associated Press science editor, adding that it had been sent to them for X-raying, and had been proved not to be a pygmy.

Homer E. Sherill, owner of the mummy, and who exhibited it at the Rogers Drug Store in Lusk, challenged the statement made that the American Museum of Natural History of New York City had studied the specimen and reported it to be a prematurely born Indian baby, not necessarily prehistoric.

According to Sherill, the mummy had never been sent to the American Museum of Natural History for investigation. He wired the museum for an explanation.

Sherill believes the specimen to be the mummy of a dwarf tree man of some forgotten era.

Images & Attachments

There are no attachments for this record.

Related/Linked Records

There are no linked records.