Ancient mantis petroglyph discovered in Iran


Petroglyph “Man-Squatter-Mantis” next to a scale of 10 cm. Courtesy: Dr. Mohammad Naserifard

The unique cave art found at the Teimare cave art site (Khomein County) in Central Iran with six limbs was described as part of a man, part of a mantis. Rock carvings, or petroglyphs, of invertebrate animals are rare, so entomologists teamed up with archaeologists to try to determine the motive. They compared carvings to other people around the world and to the local six-legged creatures that his prehistoric artists might encounter.


Entomologists Mahmoud Kolneghari, Islamic University Azad Arak, Iran; Mandana Hazrati, Avai Dornay Hakestari Institute, Iran; and Matan Shelomi, National Taiwan University, teamed up with independent archaeologist and rock art expert Mohammad Naserifard to describe the petroglyph in a new publicly available article. Orthopter Research Journal,

A thread of 14 centimeters was first discovered during filming between 2017 and 2018, but could not be identified due to its unusual shape. Six limbs point to an insect, while a triangular head with large eyes and grasping forearms accurately belong to a praying mantid, a predatory insect that hunts and captures prey, like flies, bees and even small birds. The extension on his head even helps to narrow the identification to a certain kind of mantid in this region: Empusa.

Even more mysterious are the middle limbs, which end in loops or circles. The closest parallel to this in archeology is the Squatter Man, a petroglyph figure found all over the world, depicting a man in a circle. Although they may represent a person holding round objects, an alternative hypothesis is that the circles are auroras caused by atmospheric plasma emissions.

Ancient mantis petroglyph discovered in Iran

The village of Sarkube (province of Markazi), the nearest village to the village. Courtesy: Mr. Mahmoud Kolnegari

At present, it is impossible to say exactly how old the petroglyphs are, because sanctions against Iran prohibit the use of radioactive materials necessary for radiocarbon dating. However, experts Jan Brower and Gus van Weyen examined the Teymare site and estimated that the carvings were made 40,000-4,000 years ago.

Ancient mantis petroglyph discovered in Iran

According to the researchers, the mantis is Empusa hedenborgii, which may have inspired a petroglyph. Courtesy: Mr. Mahmoud Kolnegari

One can only guess why prehistoric people felt the need to carve a mantis in a rockbut petroglyphs suggests that humans have associated mantids with the supernatural since ancient times. According to the authors, the carving indicates that "in prehistoric times, almost like today, praying mantises were animals of mysticism and appreciation."


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Additional Information:
Mahmoud Kolenegari et al. Squatting (squatter) mantis: prehistoric petroglyph of a mantis in Iran, Orthopter Research Journal (2020). DOI: 10.3897 / jor.29.39400

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Ancient mantis petroglyph discovered in Iran (2020, March 16)
restored March 16, 2020
from https://phys.org/news/2020-03-ancient-mantis-man-petroglyph-iran.html

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