Half-man, Half-mantis Petroglyph Found In Iran

Nature |

As one of the true cradles of civilization, Iran has had a massive impact on human culture across a massive period of time. They are one of the most important nations in the world from so many standpoints. One reason why Iran holds such a reverence around the globe, though, stems from its massive number of historical findings. As you might expect from somewhere that has made such a huge impact on society, some findings are very old indeed.

One of the most interesting recent finds, though, is an ancient petroglyph that depicts a half-man, half-mantis creature. It’s been found in central Iran and could be anything from 4,000 to 40,000 years old. It’s a further example of the fact that the human fascination with the Praying Mantis is much older than we might have first assumed.


Petroglyphs often are used to show larger animals, but this is a fine example of a smaller animal being used. The carving shows a triangular-shaped head, large effective eyes and the arms of a praying mantis. However, the team analyzing it believe that they have linked it back to the popular Empusa species of praying mantis that is found commonly in Iran.

They also note that the creates appear to have legs that feature a symbol that appears to be the “squatting man” motif that is found across the world. The research project has been built around trying to find out more about the amazing animals which are used in old nomadic tribe carvings found in central Iran.

The half mantis half man geoglyph dates to between 4,000 and 40,000 years ago. | DR. MOHAMMAD NASERIFARD

With their proof now that humanity has had a long-standing interest in the praying mantis, we can see that we have found something very exciting indeed. The research shows that this could be thousands of years old – four thousand at the earliest, which is exceptional proof of just how much time we’ve been fascinated by these creatures.

Some also suggest that these findings might be linked to the old-school hypothesis from the 1980s when it was believed that rock art and hallucinogenic drugs were working hand in hand. Mantids are also a big inspiration to early humans, it is believed, due to their unique hunting techniques which inspired so much change.

While we might never know why they praying mantis holds such reverence back in this period of time, we know for a fact that, at one stage in history, they were seen as beings of immense importance. 

Want to learn more about the real Iran? Check out our photo gallery The Real Iran: Life Beyond The Veil

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Noah Jones

I spent most of my earlier days writing at local Newspapers in L.A. I'm a graduate of UCLA having studied Journalism and Creative Writing, earning two different degrees in one. So have fun reading and feel free to write.