A Strange History of Dog-Headed Men

We’ve had several articles about strange creatures described by explorers, often from accounts handed down instead of direct observation, and illustrated by artists who never saw the real thing. A tale that was a bit easier for people of the times to understand was that of the Cynocephali, a term meaning humans with the heads of dogs. This particular description of unknown groups of people came from all over the world, over a period of thousands of years.

In around 400 BC, the Greek physician Ctesias wrote an intriguing and detailed account of the Cynocephali of the mountains of India, which was at the time known as Indica. In his account he describes a tribe of people with the heads of dogs, who used a series of barks and snarls to communicate, although they could understand the language of humans, and who subsisted on raw meat. They were said to have teeth that were longer than those of dog’s, as well as nails that were long, curved and rounded. The tribe is reported to have lived by hunting, roasting their kills in the sun, as well as raising flocks of sheep and goats. They are also told of being fond of the fruit of the Siptakhora, and were known to cultivate this fruit for the purposes of trading it for bread, flour, and cotton, as well as swords, spears, bows and arrows.

Such people were also described hundreds of years later by Alexander the Great, Marco Polo, and even Christopher Columbus, although they may have just passed along legends they heard. Artists illustrated these tales along the way. Read about the Cynocephali through history at Mysterious Universe. -via Boing Boing

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