Half-Human, Half-Praying Mantis Carving: Looks Like An Alien

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A part-human, part-insect glyph found in Iran (Photo by M. Naserifard / Drawing by M. Kolnegari)

Possible Half-Human, Half-Praying-Mantis Carving Found on Ancient Rocks

By Katherine J. Wu/Smithsonianmag.com

A few years ago, researchers stumbled upon an unexpected find in central Iran: a strangely shaped glyph with a spindly body sporting six limbs, a triangular head and two bulging eyes. Described as half human, half praying mantis, the curious figure, described in a paper recently published in the Journal of Orthoptera Research, still largely eludes explanation. But it may represent an insect-themed variant of the so-called “squatting man,” a circle-heavy motif that adorns ancient rock faces found worldwide, reports Daisy Hernandez for Popular Mechanics.

First spotted during a series of surveys conducted between 2017 and 2018, the five-and-a-half-inch-long rock carving initially befuddled researchers. Eventually, however, it caught the attention of a team of entomologists and archaeologists who set out to give the glyph a proper story.

Careful inspection led the entomologists to conclude that the carving likely depicted the head and grasping forelimbs of a praying mantis belonging to the genus Empusa, which is native to the region. Described as “raised and opened,” these buggy legs may have been splayed out to the glyph’s sides to suggest a threatening stance—hinting, perhaps, that its creators had reason to admire or even fear the predatory insects, according to Popular Mechanics.

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Biography
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – two daughters-in-law; Suzy and Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

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