Manataka American Indian Council




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Ice Age Animals in Southwest Rock Art

By: Ray Urbaniak





Did ancient rock artists who carved detailed symbols, animals, humans and other objects in the hard rock of the southwest, over-emphasize their appearance through "stylization" or add a bit of artist interpretation?


Some scholars, especially those working for the federal government, assume the big horn sheep carved into the stone was stylized because many petroglyphs show sheep with long sweeping horns.


This article goes a long ways in proving animals depicted in early rock art were living, breathing animals bearing huge, long horns.   Today, those ancestors of the Big Horn sheep are extinct.


Of course the animals depicted in early rock art could be from any number of mountain sheep families of North America or animals found in Asia, Africa, or Europe, depending on whose version of migration and creation you believe.   Many theories can be created.


We hope you like this excellent presentation by a very agile and wise mountain goat, Ray Urbaniak.


--by Bonnie Whitecloud,

Manataka Smoke Signal News


Ice Age Animals in Southwest Rock Art

Author and Photographer: Ray Urbaniak







Sheep depicted with stylized long horns








What Big horn sheep actually look like. from Wikipedia....

These do not have long sweeping horns.


Photos I have taken of Big horn sheep....

In the Southwest rock art it has long been assumed that the big horn sheep being depicted with long sweeping horns was just a stylization. Is it possible that later people used depictions of animals with long sweeping horns as a way to depict big horn sheep when in fact the animals depicted in very early rock art actually depicted an extinct species of big horn sheep?

Or is it possible that the depictions that these later people based their petroglyphs on were in fact other extinct animals? These animals could have been other extinct species of pronghorn antelope or even animals such as ibex & antelope that have as yet not been discovered in the fossil record in North America? Another possibility is that they depict images of animals in Asia that had been passed down in the oral tradition of the peoples who actually migrated to North America from Siberia, or that these early depictions were made by people who themselves migrated from Asia. One or more of the above theories are most likely the real reason for the sheep being depicted with long sweeping horns.




The horns shown above left look more like African scimitar-horned Oryx (right).




There was a relative called the Blue Buck that only became extinct during historic times.





However, as far as I am aware, no fossil record, to date, indicates that these species were in North America.

Some petroglyphs from Asia with long horns that I found on the web which closely resemble petroglyphs in the Southwest..... Visions.pdf

The above depicted horned animals appear to match the SW Utah and the Arizona strip petroglyphs better than the big horned sheep they supposedly depict.

There are in fact depictions of Ice Age animals in North America which place Native peoples in North America much earlier than had previously been believed by non-native people.

There are a number of people who have found methods of dating rock art, however, all methods of dating have faced opposition. I am certain that in the not too distant future a method will emerge which will be a commonly accepted method of dating rock art.

When that method of dating is available it is my opinion that some of the rock art images  I am about to share will be proven to be much older than would generally be believed.  It is not uncommon to find very old depictions of rows of different animals.

Detailed images shown above line of animals

The zoomorph pictured below, with branched horns, could very well be another early pronghorn antelope...

Another old petroglyph panel, depicting a line of animals, I enhanced to make them more visible...

Extinct and Extant Pronghorns, America’s Psuedo Antelopes

“One species of pronghorn still races across the wilderness areas of the American west where along with bison they’re considered icons of the short grass prairie. But during the Pleistocene and Pliocene, there were at least 14 species of pronghorns prancing the plains of North America from what is now Florida to California and from Mexico to Canada.”



horns [pronghorn phylogeny , showing some of the main characters, from Janis & Manning (1998)].

The panel with the pronghorn looking animals (extinct early antelopes?) is high on the rock face (approx

15 feet up) at what may have been ground level thousands of years ago. On the same panel are other ice

age animals.  There is a petroglyph of what appears to be a Saiga Antelope...

(see outlined Saiga Antelope) below

Saiga Antelope.... North American Saiga fossils

Saigas (Saiga tatarica), presently confined to central Asia, spread westward to England and eastward to the Northwest Territories of Canada during the Pleistocene (about 2 million to 10,000 years ago).

The species is a valuable paleoenvironmental indicator of dry, steppe-like grasslands, and a saiga fossil proves that eastern Beringia (unglaciated parts of Alaska, Yukon and adjacent areas of the Northwest Territories) extended east of the Mackenzie Delta..............

Saiga HornsThe oldest radiocarbon-dated saiga known is about 37,000 years old, from Usuktuk River northern Alaska, whereas the latest survivor, also from Alaska, dates to about 12,200 years ago. Of the three Canadian specimens, two left horncores of males with adjacent cranial bone from Baillie Islands, Northwest Territories and Bluefish Cave III, Yukon yielded dates of about 15,000 and 13,400 years ago, respectively (Figure 2), whereas a right lower foreleg bone (radius) from Old Crow Basin, northern Yukon was dated at about 13,200 years ago....................”

From: Radiocarbon Dates on Saiga Antelope (Saiga tatarica) Fossils from Yukon and the Northwest Territories C.R. HARINGTON1 and JACQUES CINQ-MARS2

"Two saiga cranial fragments from the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories have yielded radiocarbon dates of 13 390 ± 180 and 14 920 ± 160 B.P. respectively. Thus, saigas occupied the easternmost part of their known Pleistocene range toward the close of the Wisconsinan glaciation. Saigas probably died out between 13 000 and 10 000 years ago in North America because of rapid changes in climate and plantscapes occurring about that time, as former steppe-like terrain was replaced by spruce forest and tundra."

In the same valley with the Saiga Antelope petroglyph is a petroglyph of a Mountain Goat.'s_Mountain_Goat

On the highly patinated panel(*note 1) with the Pronghorn & Saiga antelopes there is a petroglyph of what may very well be a mammoth.

*note 1: Very old panel where the patina of the pecked area matches the color of the surrounding patinated rock surface.

The figure of a mammoth below was discovered not too long ago incised into a 13,000 year old piece of mammoth bone in Florida.

Further support comes from a recently published article on Mammoth Petroglyphs..... Ekkehart Malotki and Henry D. Wallace published a paper in 2011 entitled; COLUMBIAN MAMMOTH PETROGLYPHS FROM THE SAN JUAN RIVER NEAR BLUFF, UTAH, UNITED STATES 2011 RAR Mammoth paper.pdf

In 2001 I photographed some other very old petroglyphs in SW Utah which also appear to depict mammoths....

In one of the above photos, as well as the following photo, the figure of the animal has a shorter nose or trunk. Is it possible that the long nose is really a trunk image that was passed down through the oral tradition but attached to sheep like images? If you had never seen a Mammoth and were told that they were very big, had large tusks, and a long nose, you would probably draw horns having never actually seen tusks, on a large animal & give it a longish nose.



The mammoth looking animal below does appear to have a short trunk.  As mentioned earlier on that same panel with the Saiga Antelope is the glyph which also appears to depict a Mammoth (below).






There are a few other animals in some of the ancient rock art I have photographed which most people would dismiss as “fanciful animals” decide....

I have included this, not because I am convinced it depicts a mammoth’s trunk and head, but because I can’t conceive of anything else it could be. 

There is an animal with a long neck.




Camelops first appeared during the Late Pliocene period and became extinct

at the end of the Pleistocene period.  There is also an east African animal called the Gerenuk (pictured left) which is quite similar.


Animal with forward facing horns (pronghorn?)...









Although I had never seen a pronghorn that looks like this, or a photo of one, I recently found a photo on Wikipedia which shows a pronghorn with such horns.  I feel there is ample evidence that Native People were here around the last ice age, and most likely much longer, just as Native People have long insisted.

The fossil record may have holes in it that can be plugged with the animals depicted in Rock Art.

That was to be the end of the article....however, the results of the Native

American DNA tests have just been published & they conclude that “the

majority of today's indigenous Americans descend from a single group of migrants that crossed from Asia to Alaska 15,000 years ago or more.”


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