Comparative Guts

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Rock carving of Brown bear with lifeline.

Alta, northern Norway.
Photo: Charlotte Damm

This bear, a large, more than one metre long figure, is portrayed through the outline of the animal’s profile only. The only other visible feature is a line running from the snout to an oblong circle located in the front part of the torso,interpreted as a “lifeline”. The oblong circle, possibly the heart, would represent the location of the soul or spirit of the animal. This animal life force is perhaps identified in live animals with the misty breath or the blood which comes from the mouth or snout of a dying being.