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Dogon Nommos: The Alien Fish Gods of West African Mythology

The Dogon people of Mali, West Africa, are renowned for their rich cultural heritage and their surprisingly deep understanding of astronomy. Their traditions are filled with complex stories, intricate symbols, and a fascinating connection to the stars. One of the most intriguing aspects of their mythology centers around the Nommos, amphibious, fish-like beings who are believed to be the creators of the Dogon people and possessors of advanced knowledge.

This knowledge includes a detailed understanding of the Sirius star system, a binary star system consisting of Sirius A, the brightest star in the night sky, and Sirius B, a white dwarf star invisible to the naked eye. The Dogon knew of Sirius B’s existence and its orbital period around Sirius A, despite its invisibility without sophisticated telescopes. This astonishing knowledge has sparked debate and intrigue, leading some to believe the Dogon received their knowledge from extraterrestrial beings, while others point to traditional knowledge passed down through generations.

The Nommos: The Fish-like Beings of Dogon Mythology:

The Dogon mythology tells a captivating story of the Nommos, the beings who brought civilization to their people. According to their legends, the Nommos arrived on Earth from the Sirius star system, bringing with them knowledge of astronomy, agriculture, and the secrets of the universe.

The Nommos are described as amphibious creatures, resembling fish with human-like heads. They are said to have emerged from the primordial waters and taught the Dogon about the cosmos, the cycles of nature, and the importance of respecting the Earth. The Nommos are revered as spiritual beings, acting as intermediaries between the Dogon people and the divine.

The Nommos and the Alien Theory:

The Dogon’s advanced astronomical knowledge, particularly their understanding of Sirius B, has led to speculation about possible contact with extraterrestrial beings. This speculation is further fueled by the presence of the Nommos in their mythology, whose description and attributes align with the concept of alien visitors.

The “ancient astronaut” hypothesis suggests that extraterrestrial beings may have visited Earth in the past, influencing the development of ancient civilizations. Some proponents of this theory believe that the Nommos represent evidence of such alien contact. They argue that the Dogon’s knowledge of Sirius B, which remained unknown to Western astronomers until the 19th century, could not have been acquired through traditional means.

However, other scholars argue against the alien hypothesis, suggesting that the Dogon’s knowledge is a product of their own cultural traditions and astronomical observations over centuries. They point out that the Dogon’s understanding of Sirius B could have been derived from careful observations of its effects on Sirius A, or through knowledge passed down through generations.

The Dogon’s Understanding of Sirius B:

The Dogon’s knowledge of Sirius B is particularly fascinating, as it demonstrates a level of astronomical understanding that seems ahead of its time. They describe Sirius B as a “small, heavy star” that orbits Sirius A. This understanding aligns with modern astronomical knowledge, but it’s intriguing that the Dogon knew of Sirius B’s existence long before it was observed by Western scientists.

The Dogon also understand the binary nature of the Sirius system, noting that Sirius B orbits Sirius A in an elliptical path. This knowledge, again, aligns with scientific observations, raising questions about how the Dogon could have acquired such detailed knowledge without modern astronomical tools.

The Role of the Nommos in Dogon Culture:

The Nommos play a significant role in Dogon culture and spirituality. They are considered to be the ancestors of the Dogon people, responsible for bringing them knowledge, civilization, and their unique cultural identity. The Nommos are said to have taught the Dogon about astronomy, agriculture, and the art of weaving.

The Nommos are also deeply intertwined with the Dogon’s beliefs about the universe and the afterlife. They are believed to be connected to the spirits of the dead and to act as intermediaries between the human world and the divine. The Dogon perform various rituals and ceremonies to honor the Nommos and seek their guidance.


The Dogon people and their mythology offer a fascinating window into the intersection of culture, astronomy, and the possibility of extraterrestrial contact. The Nommos, with their connection to the Sirius star system and their role in Dogon cosmology, continue to spark curiosity and debate. Whether they represent a real encounter with alien beings or a product of rich cultural traditions, the Dogon Nommos remain a captivating enigma in the history of humanity’s search for understanding the universe and our place within it.

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