Figurine dating

The figurine shares certain similarities with later French cave paintings, which also show hybrid creatures with human-like lower bodies and animal heads such as the "Sorcerer" from the Trois Frères in the Pyrennes or the "Bison-man" from the Grotte de Gabillou in the Dordogne.

A similarly-sized tusk found in the same cave has marks that "indicate that the skin and thin bone around the tooth cavity of the upper jaw were cut through to the surface of the tooth, which was then exposed for detachment with a hammer.

A similar but smaller lion-headed human sculpture was found along with other animal figurines and several flutes in the nearby Vogelherd Cave.

This leads to the possibility that the Löwenmensch figurines were important in the mythology of humans of the early Upper Paleolithic.

For approximately thirty years, the fragments lay forgotten at the nearby Museum of Ulm.

It was not until archaeologist Joachim Hahn started an inventory and assembly of more than 200 fragments that a figurine with animal and human features began to emerge.

It currently is displayed in the Ulm Museum, Germany.In 1987, a comprehensive restoration began in the workshops of the Landesmuseum Württemberg by Ute Wolf in cooperation with Schmid.During the work, which took more than six months, it was realized that the figurine was only about two-thirds complete.All layers were sifted systematically, which led to many minute fragments being discovered.The first new adjustments were simulated virtually so that fragments could be added without having to disassemble the original recreation.Schmid later classified this feature as a pubic triangle, Male European cave lions often lacked distinctive manes, so the absence of a mane could not determine categorically that the figurine was that of a lioness, and a debate about its gender ensued among some involved in the research and the popular press.Kurt Wehrberger of the Ulm Museum stated that the statue had become an "icon of the feminist movement".Archaeologist Nicholas Conard has suggested that the second lion-figurine "lends support to the hypothesis that Aurignacian people may have practised shamanism ...and that it should be considered strong evidence for fully symbolic communication and cultural modernity".Although an objective determination of the gender of the Löwenmensch figurine is impossible, debate continues, with the most common interpretation of the fragment being a stylized male sex organ.The Löwenmensch figurine lay in a chamber almost 30 metres from the entrance of the Stadel cave and was accompanied by many other remarkable objects.

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