Procedures, often ritual in nature, to divine the future or determine the hidden causes of events and conditions are very widespread and probably universal among all peoples. Divination procedures are highly variable. The diviner is often a specialist role. Certain evidence of divination dates only to the advent of literacy (e.g., the oracle bones of China). The procedures for divination are conceptually distinct from the anticipation of the future that relies upon such indicators as smells, sounds, tracks, and time of day or year that are employed by many animal species as well as humans.
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