The following text is from THE MYSTERIOUS WORLD: AN ATLAS OF THE UNEXPLAINED, by Francis Hitching:
South of the Sahara desert live four related tribes of Africans whom the French anthropologists Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen studied from 1946-1950, living mainly with the Dogon people and inspiring such confidence that four of their head priests were persuaded to reveal their most secret traditions. There is no doubt that what the two scientists were told was authentic; so highly respected were they by the Dogon that when Griaule died in 1956, 250,000 Africans from the area gathered in tribute for his funeral in Mali.
Drawing patterns and symbols in the dusty soil, Dogon priests showed that they had inherited from ancient times a knowledge of the universe that was unbelievably accurate. The focus of their attention was the star Sirius, the brightest in the sky -- in fact, a binary star; around Sirius A, the star we can see, revolves Sirius B, a "white dwarf" star of great density which is totally invisible to the naked eye, and was seen for the first time in 1862 by the American Alvan Clark when he peered through the largest telescope then existing, and spotted a faint point of light; being 100,000 times less bright than Sirius A, it was not possible to capture it on a photograph until 1970. Yet the Dogon not only knew about this star, but also many of its characteristics. They knew it was white, and that although it was "the smallest thing there is," it was also "the heaviest star," made of a substance "heavier than all the iron on Earth" -- a good description of Sirius B's density, which is so great that a cubic metre weighs around 20,000 tons. They knew correctly that its orbit round Sirius A took 50 years, and was not circular but elliptical; they even knew the position of Sirius A within the ellipse.
Their knowledge of astronomy in general was no less astonishing. They drew the halo that surrounds Saturn, which is impossible to detect with normal eyesight; they knew about the four main moons of Jupiter; they knew that the planets revolved around the sun, that the Earth is round and that it spins on its own axis; incredibly, they were sure that the Milky Way is a spiral- like shape, a fact not known to astronomers until well into this century. They also believed that their knowledge was obtained from extra-terrestrial visitors.
Amphibians from Sirius
[Sirius B] has formed the basis of the most sacred Dogon beliefs since antiquity. So how could they have learned so much about it? There seem only two conceivable possibilities: either they used some form of divination or distant viewing, as in psychic experiments being carried out today; or, as the Dogon themselves believe profoundly, visitors from a planet attached to Sirius B landed on Earth and passed on the knowledge themselves. This is the solution which the historian Robert Temple has explored in a remarkable book "The Sirius Mystery," in which he makes ... a persuasive case for the Dogons being the last people on Earth to worship extra-terrestrial amphibians who landed in the Persian Gulf at the dawn of civilization, and whose presence can be detected in drawings and legends of the gods of ancient Babylonia, Egypt, and Greece.
He describes how the Dogon call the creatures Nommos, who have to live in water. They are said to have arrived in an ark, and drawings in the dust portray "the spinning or whirling descent of the ark." They describe the noise of thunder that it made, and a whirlwind of dust caused by the violence of its impact with the ground. Other legends tell of "spurting blood" from the ark, which may refer to its rocket exhaust; the Dogon also seem to make a distinction between the ark that actually landed on earth, and a star- like object in the sky that may represent the main inter-stellar spaceship. All this might just be science fiction curiousity were it not for the extraordinary scholarship that took Robert Temple back to the origins of the Dogon in Libya, and from there to the undoubted parallels between their Nommo and the amphibian god of Babylon, Oannes, a superior being who with his companions was to have taught the Sumerian mathematics, astronomy, agriculture, social and political organization, and written language ....
Surviving fragments of the "Babylonian History" written in Greek by a priest named Berossus, describe Oannes closely: "The whole body of the animal was like that of a fish; and it had under a fish's head another head, and also feet below, similar to those of a man, subjoined to the fish's tail. His voice, too, and language, were articulate and human; and a representation of him is preserved even to this day....When the sun set, it was the custom of this Being to plunge again into the sea, and abide all night in the deep; for he was amphibious."
Having established the parallel between the two gods, Robert Temple makes a closely-argued case that Oannes and the Sirius connection is at the heart of the Classical "mystery religions" that have so far defied explanation because they were deliberately recorded in coded form; initiates of the mysteries were forbidden to reveal the arcane knowledge they had been taught. But various clues were written down to indicate the link with Sirius -- for instance, the repeating motif of 50 representing the orbital period of Sirius B, and a dog-headed deity or other dog-associations representing Sirius A, the "Dog Star."Temple recounts many legends that back up his theme, and because these were originally intended to be elusive, it is not surprising that they have many other interpretations. But it is hard to disagree that a Sirius factor is present in many of them. Moreover, there is a rich fund of material in Greek myth that tends to support his theory, but is not included in his book. [Zenkidu]
The Nommo, child-gods of animals and water, came to the earth via an ark as 4 beings that later split into 8 specific lineage heads that all Dogon can trace their roots back to, hypotetically. Hermaphroditic imagery abounds in Dogon culture as well and functions in all walks of their life-- sanctity of marrige, of council, etc. Dogon artwork commonly showcases a married couple, wtih the male draping his arm around the woman, etc., to reinforce the theme of unity... it seems to me that the Harliquinade are a sort of Nommo... Marcel Griaule's work has, in recent years, proven to be highly suspect-- the Dogon are quite protective of their knowledge of the divine. Giraule's info came from, basically, the village idiot of one particular tribe, a guy who would ramble on and on for the right amount of drink. Certain elements of the myth structure that he recorded are fundamentally accurate, although are often times outright contradicted, and each Dogon tribe, scattered throughout the cliffs of the Burkina Faso plateau (rrrrreally mangled spelling there), changes the stories... this has come from herbert cole and a few other reliable sources.