These deities, or perhaps more appropriately their types, are among the oldest and most universal of the Mesoamerican gods and goddesses. Not just coincidentally, these deities are all associated with the forces of sustenance and fertility. One of the most important things to realize about Mesoamerican deities is that none of them assumes an ethereal, "cosmic" human body. The portrayal of a god as a human is simply how he or she would appear if a person were to embody the respective qualities. Others may even appear as animals, to express a universal principle which may be best understood through the nature of a certain animal.