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On the other hand, among those interested in epigraphy the same symbol, at least when seen alone and not sticking out of the back of an animal, it is often called a “phi-sign” because of its resemblance to the Greek letter phi. Indeed, in some parts of the world, in inscriptions of certain ages this interpretation may make much more sense.
Dr. Douglas Reagan is an ecologist. This gives him a mental framework and a set of knowledge tools that is somewhat different than that of so many rock art researchers who usually tend to be from an archaeological background, or the arts.
While hiking in The Narrows of Utah’s Canyonlands Dr. Reagan observed a rock art panel like the examples from Kenneth Castleton’s book Petroglyphs and Pictographs of Utah. It included images of ducks or geese as well as images of our symbol in question. As an ecologist however, Douglas saw ducks among cattails, and he soon saw other examples. Douglas had observed and recognized a complex of water-related images in this dry and desert environment. Many images of various types of water fowl and shore birds have been long known from the 4-Corners region and Colorado Plateau. They are traditionally interpreted as a plea for rain through sympathetic magic. When found with the “atlatl” images of a circle or oval bisected by a straight line, they are interpreted as a hunting scene. Douglas Reagan has now given us an alternative interpretation, a wetlands scene.