Lima, Peru May 22, 1976— A one-eyed Indian tale of battling a band of red-haired hunchback giants has caused speculation that a tribe of stone-age aborigines may inhabit the jungles of northern Peru.
The men were described as olive-skinned, barefooted, hunched-back, more than 6 feet 6 inches tall with feet twice the normal size.
One scientist this week said he doubted their existence, but a well-known amateur anthropologist said it was well within scientific probability.
The giants have only been reported in San Juan Province, an area of rain forests and wooded foothills east of the Andes. Its 200,000 residents have no telephone service or paved roads.
Rumors of giant tribesmen have circulated frequently in the past. They received fresh momentum early this month when an explorer said he had stumbled across such a tribe.
Carlos Tarrealza, discoverer of the ruins of a lost Indian city in San Martin Province said he had found the giants when he was lost for two weeks in the jungle.
He said they were clad only in animal skins with reddish hair and spoke a dialect he had never heard. He said they fled at his approach.
Days later, two Lima newspapers, Ultima Hora and La Prensa quoted an Indian guide Encarnacion Napuri as saying on April 25th, a group of about 15 giant aborigines armed with thick wooden clubs, stone-headed axes and hard wood lances attached attacked a camp of professional hunters.
La Prensa said the tribesmen had abducted three women and wounded five men in the camp before being driven off by shotgun blasts. Ultima Hora said 5 men, 3 women and 2 children had been injured, but did not mention any kidnapping.
The disparity might be explained by Ultima Hora’s comment that Napuri spoke extremely poor Spanish.
The director of the regional center of Indian remains, Cristobal Cresapana said, “I don’t believe in the existence of these hunch-backed men…they correspond to precisely none of the racial traits of the people seen in the Andean region so far.”
But Carlos A. Silva, a policeman and amateur anthropologist who traveled widely in the Peruvian Jungles, said the indigenous Peruvian could adapt himself very easily to live in the forested areas of the Andean foothills.