Very little is known about the Olmecs, yet despite the sparse information, the Olmecs greatly influenced all later Mesoamerican cultures. The Olmec civilization flourished in south-central Mexico from 1500 BCE until around 400 BCE, and were the first major Mexican culture. They are most famous for their large head sculptures.
They had many animalistic deities, including a feathered serpent, a dragon with flaming eyebrows, a bird monster with both mammalian and reptilian features, and a shark.
Were-jaguars were an important part of their religion and culture. They believed they resulted from the copulation between and jaguar and a woman. Some scholars think the were-jaguar may have been an important deity in the Olmec religion. And may possibly have been the rain god.
Olmec rulers were important religious figures, and their legitimacy to rule was proven by their connection to the gods.
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