Has it ever occurred to you that humans are not very different from animals, with the exception of their level of intelligence and emotional complexity. I believe, each of us has own animal prototype, so to speak. Perhaps people attributed human qualities to various animals from time immemorial and now we analogize humans with animals. But some people are just like foxes, very cunning, witty and often treacherous. Some are like bear, kind, clumsy and always slow in motion/reaction. Others are just like cats, mysterious, sliding unnoticeably around and only getting attention when they need affection.
Some of us are very similar to tigers, ready to devour everything live on our way. Others are monkeys, who laugh and make others laugh, never taking anything seriously and never asking anyone to take them seriously. There is also the fish type who is deep in waters, never heard, non-expressive and slippery when trying to take hold of. Finally, there is the majestic and intelligent type, who is also a bit arrogant and looking down at everyone else-- the lion, the perceived king of animals. I can say that there is also an owl type of people, who don't sleep at nights and are just scary and lonely. There is also the lamb, who is always loved by everyone, because she does not have the ego of everyone else.
I can say that my animal type is the seabird (seagull), who is caught in-between the ocean and the coastline, the land and the sky... It is devoted to the ocean, but is also attached to the coastline. Thus, it never flies too high but also never gives in to the deep waters of the ocean. Its scream is loud, expressive, but also pensive and sometimes lonely.
Search inside and you will definitely find your animal prototype. This is about the irrational/subconscious that we, humans are so detached from by virtue of our high intelligence. We have lost our instinctive powers, emanating from Nature itself. Animals never lose them, because that is all they've got and that is what permits them to survive. In fact, due to their high instincts they react to natural disasters better than we do. Unfortunately, there is reverse correlation/inverse relationship between intellect and instinct. The more our intellect is developed, the less our instinctive powers. But what we have is our imagination and we are too lazy to use it. Only the artists among us are capable of lifting that heavy lid of imagination and free their spirit and mind.
Salvador Dali, a great Spanish painter surrealist (1904-1989) wrote:
My goal in art is to materialize, with willful power and accuracy, those objects borne out of concrete irrational...
I am not surprised at all that my friends, foes and public in general assert that they do not understand the objects born out of my imagination, which I translate into paintings. How can they understand them, when I myself-- the person creating or giving birth to such do not understand them? But the fact that I myself don't understand the meaning of my paintings does not mean that they are meaningless. On the contrary, their meaning is so deep, so complex, so multifaceted and not arbitrary, that it escapes simple analysis and definition by logical intuition.
The painting above is the "Premonition of Civil War" painted by Dali in 1936.