Way back before Egypt was even Egypt, a jackal-headed god named Khenti-Amentiu ruled the land of the dead. At the city of Abydos, Khenti-Amentiu was Anubis's title, and he ruled the cemeteries there for almost 2,000 years. Every once in a while, Wepwawet, a jackal god from the next town over, used this title. Sometimes Wepwawet was Anubis's title (jackals get confusing after a while). A millennium later, Osiris came along, claimed Khenti-Amentiu as his own title, and took over. Anubis got to keep the cemetery, and serves King Osiris by bringing the dead to him. Anubis is very happy that he still gets to weigh their hearts.
Anubis weighs the hearts of Egypt's dead, making sure they are good enough to live in Osiris's kingdom… or giving them to Ammit for lunch. He is a very popular god in funeral books called the Coming Forth By Day by the ancient Egyptians, and which we call Book of the Dead today. Almost every one contains an image of him doing his job.
During the reign of the Ptolemies (Macedonian Greek-speaking pharaohs), Anubis and Hermes were depicted together as a new god in a combined form. This "new" god, called Hermanubis (not very original), was actually Anubis in a toga, carrying the caduceus (snake staff) that Hermes usually has. Maybe it was just a Halloween costume. When you live in the land of the dead, every day is Halloween, right?
Down in the catacombs at Kom el Shoqafa, Anubis had to dress like a Roman soldier to get the Romans to take him seriously. He does look pretty good in Caesar's armor, though, and it probably helped him blend in with the Emperor Caracalla's soldiers a little better. Good thing—the crazy guy was killing lots of people and burying them in the catacomb.
In the Byzantine Period, and in most of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Saint Christopher was shown with the head of a dog. Some people believe that this is because there never was a Saint Christopher, and that this is Anubis, sneaking into Catholic imagery.
A very large statue of Anubis as a full jackal, on top of a golden shrine, was situated in the doorway to the treasures of pharaoh Tutankhamun's tomb. When Egyptologist Howard Carter put a light into a hole drilled in its sealed doors, he saw this staring out at him from the dark! Others gathered around the hole asked what Carter could see, and according to history, he said "Wonderful things." We're thinking he probably said something else the reporters didn't want to write down, first.
DNA tests on the Egyptian jackal (Canis aureus lupaster), the animal associated with Anubis, seem to prove that it's not a jackal after all, but related to the grey wolf. Does this mean that centuries of Egyptologists teaching that "Anubis is a jackal god, and Wepwawet is a wolf god" are wrong? Only time and more testing will tell. Anubis isn't talking.
A 25-foot-tall, 5-ton statue of Anubis (and a second statue that is 27 feet tall and weighs 7 tons) were designed to accompany two separate exhibitions of ancient Egyptian artifacts from the tomb of Tutankhamun. The Anubis statues have been wandering all over the world, protecting the funeral objects of King Tut.