Maybe it really all began in a cave with the “Lion-person.” This 40 000 year old woolly mammoth ivory figurine, human-bodied with the head of a lion, is our first anthropomorphic, our first flight of fancy, before looney tunes, before brother Grimm, before Aesop.
The head looks pretty lion-like. The body looks human enough. Funny thing is, there is no mammothness about it, nothing saying "Hey, this is a mammoth tusk." I suppose you aren’t suppose to notice what the lion-person is made of. Guess mammoth ivory was no big deal, cheap in those days, extinct now, in a museum now.
Culture, especially culture, can go extinct too, like that whole “Animal-headed Egyptian God” thing. They need to be constantly watered with our attention to be relevant or they float away like dust moats instead of pollen. Famous for being self-begotten, the Egyptian god Thoth didn’t need anyone to bring him into the world. That's kind of cagey, trying to be like a tree or wind or the moon.
Egyptians scribbled their hieroglyphs and statuary all over pillars, temples, jewelry, papyrus scrolls, spoons. The gods had an everywhereness presence. Woody wood-pecker jackhammers out of the phosphorous immaterial glow of television. His everywhereness is made out of open-pit copper mines and gorilla bush-meat and coal-fired power-plants. There is no melting Greenland icesheet about him, unless that's how you go about describing his declining popularity. Guess you aren’t suppose to notice what the woodpecker person is made of.