Birds such as herons and cranes were significant in Taino culture. These birds were given human characteristics. Birds were seen as a symbol of masculinity. The birds could also represent members of the tribe but this remains under debate.
The Taino Indians were an ancient civilization originating from what is now Puerto Rico. Ancient inhabitants of the region, the Taino Indians left behind narratives and tales in the form of these symbols. The Taino mainly lived off of what they could find on land and were also fishermen. Unfortunately, disease, war, and starvation left the Taino destroyed after merely two decades - leaving behind only their symbols.
These symbols have been left behind on caves and walls across the region. Although carbon dating is not possible on the rocks and caves where these images have been found, the best estimate is that these were created somewhere between 5000 BC to 1700 AD. There is also conjecture that these symbols may not have been created by the Taino at all, but a precursor society that lived there before the Taino arrived. Because there is little evidence to prove any of these claims as true, the common acceptance is that these symbols were left behind by the Taino themselves.
While some of the symbols relate to deities and nature, others are about depicting their daily life. With no written language as such, these symbols become their primary way of communication. Some theories state that these petroglyphs were created by shamans. Others believe that these symbols were created as a warning to other tribes, both in terms of territory and to inform others of natural disasters and other events. While some of the symbols and their meanings remain under debate, there are clues and hints that can be used to decipher what they actually mean.