Gen1:26 - Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created man in his own image, both male and female he created them.
Let me explain my reasoning. See if we can crack this nut.
In both mentions of “God’s image” here in early Genesis, they closely mirror each other. First, Noah’s sons are given the same blessings as Gen1 humans, “be fruitful” and “increase” and “fill the earth”.
Then it again reiterates the hierarchy in the animal kingdom, specifying humans over all others, plants and animals.
This, to me, is a clear indication that this is a continuation of the end of creation in Gen1.
It seems to be stating that God’s “image” in this case is the authority in the hierarchy being stated. Like the way management is established in a business. We’re the managers. God demands an accounting from every animal in the chain of responsibility. He is the authority, but punishment will be carried out by the managers.
Whatever it is, it seems it is what distinguishes us from the animal kingdom we evolved from.