Alternatively Mushhushshu and Muhussu (both names, as well as Sirrush, mean "splendor serpent").
A mythological hybrid creature depicted on the reconstructed Ishtar Gate of the city of Babylon, originally dating to the 6th century BC.
The Sirrush on the Ishtar Gate is a scaly dragon with hind legs like an eagle's talons, feline forelegs, a long neck and tail, a horned head, a snakelike tongue and an ornate crest. This beast was associated with the Babylonian god Marduk, and probably gave rise to the Lernaean Hydra of Greekmythology.
Incredibly, since the rediscovery of the Ishtar Gate in 1902, there has been speculation that the Sirrush may have been a living animal. The German archeologist Robert Koldewey, who dug up the ruins of Babylon in the early 1900s, was the first person to suggest it. According to him, depictions of the Sirrush, unlike those of other mythical creatures, rarely changed. Furthermore, he noted that the Sirrush is shown on the Ishtar Gate alongside real animals, the lion and the rimi, leading him to speculate that it was a creature the Babylonians were very familiar with.
In the Biblical text "Bel and the Dragon', Nebuchadnezzar planned to sacrifice the prophet Daniel to a dragon kept in a Babylonian temple, but Daniel managed to kill the beast by feeding it poisoned barley cakes. Could this have been a real story, and the dragon a living Sirrush?
Cryptozoologist Willy Ley once suggested that images of the Sirrush were quite close to those of sauropod dinosaurs. Could this beast have been a living dinosaur, a creature such as Mokele-Mbembe from Africa, an animal that somehow managed to survive extinction?
Adrienne Mayor, historian of ancient science and a classical folklorist, argues that ancient civilizations habitually took great care in excavating, transporting and reassembling fossils, raising the possibility that it represents a Babylonian reconstruction of sauropod remains.
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