Oldest Primordial Dwarfs in the World

7 Oldest Primordial Dwarfs in the World

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Primordial dwarfism is one of the rarer forms of dwarfism in the world. People with primordial dwarfism tend to be much smaller than any other dwarfs. In fact, several of the people on this list have been recognized by Guinness World Records for being the shortest man or woman in the world. Reportedly, primordial dwarfs don’t often live past the age of 30 as the condition comes with a slew of health problems – about half the people on this list are under 30 but are still considered some of the oldest primordial dwarfs in the world. However, the oldest primordial dwarf on this list lived to be 75 years old!

7. Khagendra Thapa Magar (October 4, 1992 – Present)

Oldest Age Reached: currently 25 years old (will be turning 26 later in 2018)
Country of Origin:  Baglung District, Nepal
Type of Primordial Dwarfism:  Not specified
Occupation:  Dance troupe member

Khagendra Thapa Magarphoto source:  Guinness World Records

When Khagendra Thapa Magar turned 18 in 2010, he entered into the Guinness World Records book for being the world’s shortest man at the time (he has since lost the title to Junrey Balawang, who has a different type of dwarfism). Magar is 67.08 centimeters (26.4 inches) and weighs 6.5 kilograms (13 pounds) and underwent several medical examinations to receive his title.

Magar was first recognized for his small stature around 2006 by a businessman who decided to make Magar the center of attraction at various fairs in Nepal. While Magar still held the title of world’s smallest man, he traveled around the world as a Guinness World Records goodwill ambassador, promoting tourism for his home country of Nepal.


6. Lucia Zarate (January 2, 1864 – January 15, 1890)

Oldest Age Reached: 26 years old
Country of Origin:  San Carlos Nuevo Guaymas, Mexico
Type of Primordial Dwarfism:  MOPD II (Microcephalic osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism type II)
Occupation:  Traveling entertainer

Lucia Zaratephoto source:  Sideshow World

Lucia Zarate is probably the most important person on this list as she is considered the first person ever identified with the type of primordial dwarfism known as MOPD II. Zarate was born in Mexico and was reportedly only 7 (17.78 cm) inches long and weighed 8 ounces (~0.23 kg) at birth.

When she was 12 years old, Zarate was brought to the United States and was put into exhibitions right away. Zarate was often featured with “General Mite” (Francis Joseph Flynn), who had another type of dwarfism. The pair were also traveled to Europe for exhibitions and reportedly met Queen Victoria. Recently, Zarate’s story was the main subject of a book written by award-winning author Cecilia Velástegui.


5. Bridgette Marie Jordan (June 9, 1989 – Present)

Oldest Age Reached: currently 29 years old
Country of Origin:  Sandoval, Illinois, USA
Type of Primordial Dwarfism:  MOPD II (Microcephalic osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism type II)
Occupation:  Unknown – was a college student in 2011

Bridgette Marie Jordanphoto source:  peoplemaven.com

Bridgette Marie Jordan was in the news in 2011 for being declared the world’s shortest woman by Guinness World Records (Jyoti Amge has since taken over the record). At the time, Jordan was attending Kaskaskia College in her home state of Illinois and was a part of the school’s cheerleading team. Bridgette also has a brother with primordial dwarfism, Brad, and were recognized as the world’s shortest siblings.

In 2012, Bridgette and Brad were part of an eight-part series called Big Tiny that aired on TLC. According to one source, Brad passed away in 2017, but Bridgette is still alive and living in Illinois with her remaining family members.


4. Weng Weng (Ernesto de la Cruz) (September 7, 1957 – August 29, 1992)

Oldest Age Reached: 34 years old
Country of Origin:  Philippines
Type of Primordial Dwarfism:  Not specified
Occupation:  Actor

Weng Wengphoto source:  Variety

None of the people on this list are more famous than Filipino action star Weng Weng (Ernesto de la Cruz), who has a worldwide cult following. Weng Weng’s movies (mostly spoofs on James Bond films) are so iconic that they are considered to the the Philippines’ most successful film exports. Additionally, Weng Weng is a pioneer in the film industry – he was the star of his films while actors with dwarfism are typically only featured as sidekicks or in bit parts. His career as a leading man landed him in the Guinness World Records as the shortest actor in a leading role.

Weng Weng was interested in martial arts at a young age and one of his instructors is responsible for introducing him to a film producer. According to several of his co-stars, Weng Weng did all of his own stunts and was dedicated to his martial arts training. Unfortunately, it has widely been reported that Weng Weng never received much money for his work despite the popularity of his films. In a documentary covering Weng Weng’s life, it was revealed that his producers exploited him and kept nearly all of the money for themselves.


3. Nelson de la Rosa (c.1968 – October 22, 2006)

Oldest Age Reached: 38 years old
Country of Origin:  Dominican Republic
Type of Primordial Dwarfism:  Never officially diagnosed but believed to be MOPD II (Microcephalic osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism type II).
Occupation:  Actor and circus performer

Nelson de la Rosaphoto source:  The New York Times

Nelson de la Rosa was an actor and was known for being a good luck charm for the Boston Red Sox. De la Rosa made his film debut in the 1988 Italian horror film Rat Man and his most notable work as an actor was a minor role in The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996).

Sources differ, but de la Rosa was supposedly certified by Guinness World Records sometime around 1990 as the smallest man on earth. De la Rosa was heavily featured in the press during the 2004 World Series when the Boston Red Sox won. He was close to fellow Dominican and Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martínez, who was often pictured lifting de la Rosa in the air after a win. In 2006, de la Rosa died after falling ill, he left behind his wife and their nine year old son.


2. Gul Mohammed (February 15, 1957 – October 1, 1997)

Oldest Age Reached: 40 years old
Country of Origin:  New Delhi, India
Type of Primordial Dwarfism:  Not specified
Occupation:  Unemployed

Gul Mohammedphoto source:  wbfor.com

Before his record was broken in 2012, Gul Mohammed was the world’s shortest man at 57.15 cm (22.5 in) and a weight of 17 kg (37.48 lbs) . Mohammed is also one of the oldest primordial dwarfs to ever live. In 1997, Mohammed passed at the age of 40, following a heart attack. Dr. H.S. Heera, who treated Mohammed for 12 years said that the primordial dwarf suffered from chronic obstructive airway disease, which Mohammed made worse with heavy smoking.

Despite being in the Guinness World Record Book for a number of years, Mohammed never capitalized on his fame. He survived on financial help from friends and voluntary organizations after unsuccessfully trying to run a roadside candy stall (Mohammed was often robbed because of his small size).


1. Chandra Bahadur Dangi (November 30, 1939 – September 3, 2015)

Oldest Age Reached: 75 years old
Country of Origin:  Salyan, Nepal
Type of Primordial Dwarfism:  Not specified
Occupation:  Weaver; Guinness World Records brand ambassador

Chandra Bahadur Dangiphoto source:  Wikimedia Commons

Chadra Bahadur Dangi lived to be 75 years old, making him the oldest primordial dwarf in the world. Dangi’s old age was extraordinary as no other known primordial dwarf has lived long enough to become a senior citizen. In 2012, Dangi was recognized by Guinness World Records as the shortest man ever – Dangi was only 54.6 cm (21.5 in) tall and only weighed 14.5 kg (31 lb 15.52 oz).

Before Dangi received his World Record title, he had never set foot outside of his remote village in Nepal. Dangi’s live changed over night and he said that his Guinness World Records recognition meant he “actually got the opportunity to visit many places over the whole world, and meet many people”. In late 2015, Dangi died at a hospital in America Samoa where he had been admitted a week before after coming down with pneumonia.


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