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Lions are carnivores, a subgroup of mammals that also includes animals such as bears, dogs, raccoons, mustelids, civits, hyenas, and the aardwolf.

Lions' closest living relatives are jaguars, followed by leopards and tigers.

The original is located at the British Museum.- Sculpture of a colossal lion weighing 15 tons - Carved in Alabaster stone - The lion was one of two found by Austin Henry Layard in 1849 - Excavated at the site of ancient Nimrud (Calah) - Currently at the British Museum in London - From the Neo-Assyrian Period (1000-612 BC) - It guarded the entrance to the Temple of Ninurta (Sharrat-niphi) at Nimrud - During the reign of King Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BC) - The lion was a symbol of royal power in ancient Assyria - The lion was a symbol of the goddess Ishtar, the Assyrian goddess of war - The lion was used extensively to decorate the palaces of the Assyrian kings - Colossal stone carved animals guarded the entrance of the palaces of Assyria - These sculptures were also used to ward off evil spirits - The inscription reveals the temple's builder, Ashurnasirpal II From Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), northern Iraq Neo-Assyrian, about 883-859 BC Guardian figure from the entrance to the Temple of Ishtar This gigantic standing lion, roaring angrily, formed one of a pair carved half in the round which once flanked the entrance of a small temple dedicated to the goddess Ishtar, adjoining the palace of King Ashurnasirpal II (reigned 883-859 BC). The placing of figures of lions beside the doors of temples or the gates of cities was an ancient custom in Mesopotamia.