Dwarves and Bizarre Religious Rites Popular with Both Ancient Egyptians, Mesoamericans

Located far away from one another, without known interactions, how did the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Mesoamericans have so much in common? (Mesoamerica extends approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, and was home to many pre-Columbian societies.)

Trait Ancient Egypt Ancient Mesoamerica
Loves and reveres dwarves. Believes dwarves are connected to the gods. Loves to watch dwarves dance. Makes lots of art showing dwarves.
Religious system is built about nine all-powerful deities.
Gods who die can be reborn as a star.
To help a soul ascend directly to the heavens, without a journey through the underworld first, the high priest and four helpers conduct a ceremony at a pyramid, hitting the body very hard with a ceremonial knife.
The afterlife is a journey full of peril, involving travel in a boat with a dog or dog-headed god, a bird or bird-headed god, and an ape or ape-headed god. The hearts of the dead are devoured by beasts.

Graham Hancock, in his book, Fingerprints of the Gods, suggests that the Egyptians and Mesoamericans did not somehow influence each other, but were independently influenced by a third party, an advanced civilization that may have disappeared under an ice age. Hancock also points out many similarities between these two cultures and Sumeria, including the fact that all three sprang into existence seemingly from nowhere, with writing, science, mathematics, and many other skills appearing in an advanced state, with no developmental stages.

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