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Humans have been creating and believing in mythological creatures for centuries. Ancient Egyptians created a large collection of gods and goddesses, most of whom were often depicted as part human and part animal. One of the most important of these gods was Anubis. While some refer to him as the god of the dead, his duties were more specific to a civilization whose population revered death.
Anubis was the god who was responsible for guiding the dead on their sacred journey into the afterlife. He is often depicted with a set of scales as he determined an individual's worthiness of entering the afterlife. He was also the guiding spirit in the process of mummification. The "head embalmer" usually wore an Anubis costume during the mummification process.
Anubis was traditionally depicted as a half man/half jackal, or as just a jackal. Jackals were closely associated with the dead for being scavengers in cemeteries. His first appearance in hieroglyphics dates back to the third millennium B.C. during the Old Kingdom in Egypt.
At that time Anubis was the most important god of the dead, but during Egypt's Middle Kingdom this honor was transferred to Osiris.
Laurie Kay Olson
Animal News Blogger