The Sirrush, also known as the mushussu, is a hybrid from Babylonian mythology. Dating back to the sixth century BC it is depicted on the Ishtar Gate of the City of Babylon.
A German archeologist Robert Koldewey discovered the Gate in 1902 and thought the sirrush was a representation of a real animal. The sirrush is displayed on the gate alongside other animals like a lion and a rimi (an extinct type of cattle).
It is described as a dragon with scales, eagle-like hind legs and talons, and feline-like front legs and paws. The creature has a long neck and tail, with a horned head, snakelike tongue and a crest.
In 1918, Koldewey suggested the sirrush closely matched the Iguanodon, a dinosaur with birdlike hind feet. Other explanations of what the creature could have been is a Sivatherium, a giraffe-like animal that became extinct about 8,000 years ago.
In the certain books and passages of the Old Testament, the sirrush is believed to be mentioned. Babylonians worshipped a great dragon or serpent which priests had in a temple dedicated to Bel (Nebuchadnezzar’s God).
In the Book of Daniel, Daniel confronted this creature when the priests challenged him to test his God against their living God. Daniel defeated the creature by poisoning it.
Image Caption: Sirrush (mushussu) depiction on the gates of Ishtar Tor, Babylon. Credit: Allie Caulfield/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)