The attribute sets and attributes for the above class are described below. Minor edits which enhance the current definitions should be made directly to the text. Major changes or revisions which change the attribute words should follow the directions at the bottom of this page under Proposed Changes.
Single choice. This divides zoomorphics into useful categories based upon appearance rather than the usual scientific order. Examples for Zoomorphic.Order
- A flying bat.
- Birds are usually shown standing, but may be shown flying. Thunderbirds, which sometimes do not look very birdlike, are given the bird attribute.
- Any type of insect, scorpions, spiders, and dragonflies seem to be most abundant.
- A quadruped is a quadruped regardless of how many legs are depicted. The number of legs are recorded elsewhere. Whales, seals, etc. should be recorded as marine.
- Any type of cold or warm blooded animal which lives in the water.
- Any reptile, lizards, snakes and turtles are most abundant.
- Any animal not fitting into one of the categories above.
Single choice. This describes the direction the element is facing relative to the viewer, and assumes the image portrays the normal viewing position. In the case of reptiles, this indicates the position and direction of the head. Examples for Zoomorphic.Facing
- The element is portrayed as facing the viewer.
- The element's back is toward the viewer, this is a common means of drawing a reptile.
- The element's head is facing to the viewer's left.
- The element's head is facing to the viewer's right.
- Upside Down
- The element is upside down, possibly indicating death.
- The element is facing upward.
- The element is facing downward.
- Legs Left
- For quadrupeds, the head is up or down and the legs face left.
- Legs Right
- For quadrupeds, the head is up or down and the legs face right.
- Legs Up
- A quadruped is that is upside down.
Single choice. If the element is not portrayed in a normal standing position, this describes the activity. Multiple choice. Examples for Zoomorphic.Activity
- The element is depicted giving birth.
- The element is depicted as in death; frequently this means being shown as upside down.
- The element is depicted as eating.
- The element is depicted as falling.
- Two animals fighting; deer in rutting season.
- The element is depicted as flying.
- The element appears to be jumping.
- Laying Down
- The element is depicted as laying down. This is never checked for reptiles such as lizards or snakes.
- The element is depicted as running.
- The element is depicted in a sexual scene or position.
- The element appears to be walking.
Single choice. Examples for Zoomorphic.Birds
- May be shown with wings outspread similar to a thunderbird.
- Duck, Goose, Swan
- Any element with a duck-like bill and torso.
- Hawk, Vulture
- Hawk or vulture.
- Heron, Crane
- Should have a long beak, neck and legs.
- Beak should be indicative.
- Frontal views are most common.
- Parrot, Macaw
- Hooked beak and long tail.
- Stout, round bird. May be depicted flying with rounded wings.
- Difficult to separate from herons and cranes based on body shape.
- May be as simple as an inverted U with a line protruding through the top. In some cases there will be a head with a hooked beak, the wings may be wider than just lines, and the tail may be wider than a simple line.
- The beak should be indicative.
- Any bird that can not be placed into one of the above categories.
Multiple choice. This describes any feather crests and the length of a birds beak relative to the width of the bird's head. Multiple choice. Examples for Zoomorphic.Bird Head
- The crest is pointed forward.
- The crest is pointed upward similar to a cardinal.
- The crest is pointed backward.
- Short Beak
- The beak is about half or less than half of the width of the head.
- Medium Beak
- The beak is about the width of the head.
- Long Beak
- The beak is about twice the width of the head.
- Huge Beak
- The beak is very long, much more than twice the width of the head.
- Open Beak
- The beak is open.
- Holding Prey
- The beak is holding prey such as a fish or frog.
Multiple choice. Spider webs are included even if no insect is shown. Examples for Zoomorphic.Insects
- Uncommon. May be depicted with designs on the wings.
- Straight or curved body with several pairs of curved legs.
- Straight body with two pairs of wings.
- Curved tail and pincher claws are indicative.
- May have the wrong number of legs.
- Spider Web
- The rounded polygon type is most common.
- Any insect that can not be given one of the above attributes.
Single choice. Examples for Zoomorphic.Marine
- Any shellfish.
- seal or walrus.
- Any marine animal not fitting one of the above choices.
Single choice. Examples for Zoomorphic.Reptiles
- Frog or Toad
- Both the front and rear legs will usually point forward.
- Tail is equal or longer than the rear legs.
- Horned Lizard
- Variety of lizard with stout body and scales that may resemble horns.
- Should have a head. May be be straight, curved, or coiled.
- The back may have designs. Usually the head, tail, and legs are depicted.
- Any reptile not fitting one of the above categories.
Multiple choice. Additional attributes for snakes. The attribute Reptiles.Snake above should also be checked. Use Head attributes as well, but not Tail attributes. Examples for Zoomorphic.Snake
- The snake is coiled.
- From the outside inward is a clockwise spiral.
- From the outside inward is a counter-clockwise spiral.
- The snake body is straight.
- The snake body is wavy.
- The snake body has irregular snake-like curves.
- The snake body is extended. Deprecated, choose straight or wavy.
- The tail has a rattle.
Single choice. Examples for Zoomorphic.Quadruped-Domestic
- Cow or Bull
- Cow or bull.
- Usually depicted with a tail curving upward and over the back. Domesticated dogs are usually shown in the presence of humans and may be participants in a hunting scene.
Multiple choice. Equipment used on horses, mules, and other domestic animals. Multiple choice. Examples for Zoomorphic.Tack
- Saddle blanket.
- Brand mark on rear leg or side.
Multiple choice. If mountain lion, wolf, or coyote are checked, feline or canine should also be checked. Examples for Zoomorphic.Quadruped-Predator
- Caoti Mundi
- Short legs, long tail, pointed nose.
- Any wild dog-like animal. Domesticated dogs should be indicated elsewhere.
- Any cat-like animal.
- Mountain Lion
- Mountain lion.
- Any quadruped predator that does not fit the above.
Single choice. Examples for Zoomorphic.Quadruped-Prey
It may be difficult to determine the difference between the various hooved game animals. The presence of antlers or horns may be the only clue. Antlers are composed of bone-like material and are grown and shed annually by males. Horns are composed of dense hair-like material, are usually permanent, and grown by both males and females. But pronghorns are an exception because they shed horns on an annual basis. In the absence of horns, antlers or other clue, deer-like prey animals should be classified simply as deer.
- The curved inward pointing horns and body mass should be indicative.
- This should be the default choice for all hornless ungulates unless there is a specific characteristic suggesting another species. Males have branching antlers. Females have no antlers. Sites which show large numbers of males with first year unbranching antlers may be depicting pronghorns.
- These may be difficult to distinguish from deer. The main antler branch should start upward and curve over the back near the top. Most tines will point forward, those at the top will point upward.
- Mountain Sheep
- Heads of mails frequently have large backward curving horns placed one above the other. Infrequently, horns are shown curving in opposite directions (one backward and one forward), or both curving forward as if the artist is depicting a frontal view or the head. Females have shorter horns than males that curve backward.
- Pronghorn Antelope
- Drawn with straight or gently curving horns which curve toward each other at the ends. May show small prongs near the ends. Unbranching horns and ears may sometimes be depicted as equal in size -- these could be young deer or pronghorns. Hornless individuals should be classified as deer unless there is some other distinguishing characteristic.
- Includes cottontails and jackrabbits.
- Extinct Species
- Any extinct species such as a mammoth.
- Any prey quadruped not fitting any of the above.
Multiple choice. Examples for Zoomorphic.Head
- Could be single upward spikes, but usually shown as branching.
- Horns of mountain sheep curve backward, pronghorns grow upward and curve slightly inward and may show prongs near the end.
- Big Horns/Antlers
- The horns are double sized or greater.
- Big Ears
- Ears are double sized or greater.
- Mouth. If the mouth is open, check this attribute as well.
- Open Mouth
- An open mouth.
- The head is drawn as an outline. May be a natural shape or a circle, etc.
- Any appendage attached to the head. For example, a circle or spiral may be attached to a horn or antler.
Multiple choice. If the neck appears normal, no attributes will be selected. Examples for Anthropomorphic.Neck
- The neck is curved.
- The neck is depicted as shorter than normal, about half or less of the normal length as judged from the length of the torso.
- The neck is depicted as longer than normal, about twice the normal length as judged from the length of the torso.
- The neck is depicted as very long, over three times the normal length, as judged from the length of the torso.
- The neck is disproportionately thin.
- The neck is disproportionately thick.
Multiple choice. Examples for Zoomorphic.Torso
- Full Bodied
- The element is a solid shape rather than an outline or stippled.
- The element is formed by lines, the interior of the torso is the natural patina or rock.
- The torso interior is bisected, quartered, or otherwise segmented.
- The torso is drawn as a simple stick figure.
- The torso is textured with simple dots, dashes, or a more elaborate small pattern.
- The torso has some other feature (other than an appendage) that can not be described as above.
Multiple choice. These attributes are used to describe various stylistic depictions of a torso. Torsos that were described as Stick should have no choices checked below. Multiple choice. Examples for Zoomorphic.Torso Shape
- The torso is a blob with an irregular shape.
- The torso is a stylized crescent. The back may be either swaybacked or straight.
- The torso is depicted as abnormally long.
- The torso resembles an oval.
- The torso has a natural or lifelike shape.
- The torso is drawn as a rectangle with a straight back, belly, and ends.
- Paint or Tattoo
- The torso is drawn as an outline, and the interior of the torso has lines, circles, crosses, or other designs.
- The entire torso is round.
- Round Belly
- A full circle overlays the middle of the torso. The remainder of the torso is frequently a stick.
- The torso is tapered with the thickest part at the head end.
- The torso includes some other stylistic feature not described above.
Multiple choice. Examples for Zoomorphic.Number Legs
- One leg is drawn.
- Two legs are drawn.
- Three legs are drawn.
- Four legs are drawn.
- Five legs are drawn.
- Six legs are drawn.
- Seven legs are drawn.
- Eight legs are drawn.
- More than eight legs are drawn.
Multiple choice. If legs are drawn differently, check all that apply. Multiple choice. Examples for Zoomorphic.Legs
- Legs are straight from torso to feet.
- Bent at Joint
- Legs are bent at knee.
- Legs are curved from torso to feet.
- Front Forward
- The forelegs are forward.
- Front Rearward
- The forelegs are rearward.
- Rear Forward
- The rear legs are angled or pointing forward.
- Rear Rearward
- The rear legs are angled or pointing backward.
- The legs are one-half or less than the length of the torso.
- The Legs are double or more than the length of the torso.
- Odd Lengths
- Legs are of different lengths.
- One or more legs has an attached appendage.
Multiple Choice. Multiple choice. Examples for Zoomorphic.Feet
- The legs end in a straight line with no foot detail and no attached toes.
- Feet are drawn as round balls.
- Feet are crudely drawn, or may be missing with toes appearing attached directly to legs.
- Feet of normal size and shape are depicted.
- Big Feet
- The feet are drawn much larger than life-size and may include detail.
- Flat Feet
- The feet are drawn in profile and are flat on the bottom similar to a human foot.
- Footprints are depicted instead of or in addition to feet.
Multiple choice. Multiple choice. Examples for Zoomorphic.Toes
- Two or more toes are depicted.
- Big Toes
- The toes are intentionally drawn much larger than life size.
- Two toes.
- Three toes.
- Four toes.
- Five Toes.
- > Five
- More than five toes.
Multiple choice. The attributes below describe various aspects of a zoomorphic tail. When choosing an attribute, consider the position of the head and whether the view is a side view (quadruped) or a top view (lizard). Multiple choice. Examples for Zoomorphic.Tail
- The tail is straight, and held in any direction.
- The tail is curved in any direction.
- The tail is held upward, but does not curve over the back.
- This attribute is typically used only for quadrupeds when the tail is held horizontally.
- This attribute is typically used only for quadrupeds when the tail is held downward.
- Over Back
- The tail is held upward and curved over the back. This is frequently taken to mean a predator quadruped, perhaps a cat.
- This attribute is used only for a snake, when a rattle is depicted on the end of the tail.
- There is a geometric appendage attached to the tail.
- A zoomorphic figure which should have a tail has none. This should not be used when the condition of the element has deteriorated and a tail can not be seen.
Single choice. This compares the length of the tail to the length of the body (excluding the head and neck). In real life, a deer's tail would always be described as short and a mountain lion's tail as long. Multiple choice. Examples for Zoomorphic.Tail Length
- The tail is one quarter or less of the body length.
- The tail is one half or less of the body length.
- The tail is about equal to the body length.
- The tail length is much greater than the body length.
Multiple choice. The element has one or more appendages. These attributes should be used rather than the old appendage attributes under other body parts -- the older attributes are to be removed.
- An appendage is attached to the head.
- An appendage is attached to the ear.
- Antler or horn
- An appendage is attached to the antlers or horns.
- An appendage is attached to the shoulder or rump.
- An appendage is attached to the torso.
- An appendage is attached to the leg.
- An appendage is attached to the foot.
- An appendage is attached to the tail.
Single choice. The number of zoomorphic figures are combined into one element. Multiple choice. Examples for Zoomorphic.Group Size
- Two figures.
- Three figures.
- Four figures.
- Five figures.
- Six to ten figures.
- More Than Ten
- More than ten.
If you have suggestions which add, delete, combine attributes or change the word used to define an attribute, then please copy the entire current attribute set definition above, including the attribute set heading to the end of this page and edit your copy. If you wish to make a comment below your improved version (or someone else's improved version), add a horizontal rule and then your comment.
Minor changes in agreement with the someone's proposed changes should be made directly to the text, competing versions should be documented as complete revised copies including the heading.
To add a new attribute set, create it exactly as it should appear. For suggestions on sequence changes, create an appropriate heading below and add a comment. For other types of changes, innovate.
All documentation should be written for the target audience of volunteer rock art recorders.
Appendage is an attribute within Head, Legs, and Tail. These are duplicated within Appendage set.