The Ishtar Gate of the ancient city of Babylon dates to the reign of Nebuchadnezzer II, around 580 B.C. The bas-reliefs which decorate the gate include two known animals -- the lion and the wild ox -- and one unknown animal, a dragon. Originally the word for this animal was read as sirrush, but now mushrushu is the accepted form. If the mushrushu ever were a living animal, it apparently is now extinct.
Some cryptozoologists suggest the mushrushu is the same animal as the Biblical Behemoth and the "dragon" which King Nebuchadnezzar kept in the temple of the god Bel according to the story in the apocryphal tale of Bel and the Dragon. In that tale Nebuchadnezzar confronted Daniel with the Bel dragon. Daniel killed it.
Other cryptozoologists suggest the mushrushu may have been a specimen of mokele-mbembe, a sauropod-like animal said to inhabit the Congo area. Another candidate is a giant monitor lizard like the Komodo Dragon.
See the Giant Snakes and Reptiles section of my cryptozoology links page for more sites offering information about the Mushrushu.
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Last modified by pib on July 6, 2003.