Anubis is the Greek name for the ancient jackal-headed god of the dead in Egyptian mythology. His name is more accurately vocalized as Anapa, but he is also known as Sekhem Em Pet. He serves as both a guide of the recently departed and a guardian of the dead. The female counterpart to Anubis is Anput, sometimes shortened to Anpu.
The Jackal was associated with the domain of the dead, due to the fact that the jackal oriented in the Western Desert. The cult of Anubis eventually became associated with that of Osiris, which led to the belief that he was the son of Osiris and Nephthys, the wife of Set, who seduced Osiris in order to have a son when she discovered Set was infertile.
He supervises the embalming and mummification processes, and presides over the Opening of the Mouth ceremony. He also performs the Weighing of the Heart ceremony, in which the deceased person's heart is weighed against Ma'at's Feather of Truth. If the heart is heavier then the feather, the heart is fed to Ammut, the devourer of souls.
Anubis is also linked to the Imuit fetish, which is a headless stuffed animal skin hanging from a pole standing in a pot, often illustrated on stelae or papyri. A model was found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, but it is unknown what it was used for.
Anubis is traditionally said to have a head of a jackal which refers to the Egyptian jackal. Whether it's a subspecies of Golden jackal, subspecies of gray wolf or a species by itself, remains a topic of debate to this day. Ancient Greek considered it a wolf. In XX there was no consensus on the species' taxonomy. A 2007 DNA research placed it with Golden jackals, but a 2011 research placed it with gray wolves again and suggested that African wolf would be more appropriate name. As of 2015, the the term golden "jackal" is now updated as golden "wolf" following on genetic studies and similarities with other wolf species.
Another sacred animal of Anubis was a domestic dog which he was sometimes depicted as.
Ancient Egyptians depicted jackals and dogs very alike and sometimes depicted animals that looked like jackals and dogs at the same time. This canonical canine has thin black body, long legs, pointed muzzle and erect ears. It's that animal, be it a jackal, a wolf or a dog, which is seen in works of artists inspired by Anubis.
Anubis, Anput, and furry
Anubis and Anput are very popular among furry fans because of their anthropomorphic jackal form. As a result, they are a very popular subject of furry artwork. Many furries pattern themselves after Anubis or Anput, making jackals one of the more popular species of furry in the fandom.
- African golden jackals are actually golden wolves. Retrieved on 9 August 2015.
- Golden jackal: A new wolf species hiding in plain sight. Retrieved on 9 August 2015.