A man-eating beast originally from India, the manticore has three rows of teeth, like a shark, and a scorpion’s tail.
Depending on the description, the manticore has either the head of a man or of a lion. It has the body of a tiger, the tail of a scorpion and it may or may not have wings.
It passed into European folklore first through a remark by Ctesias, a Greek physician in the fourth century BC, in his book Indica (“India”). It has survived only in fragments, or references by those other writers.
The Greek geographer Pausanias, in one of his books, said he thought manticores were just exaggerations of tigers.
“But that it has three rows of teeth along each jaw and spikes at the tip of its tail with which it defends itself at close quarters, while it hurls them like an archer's arrows at more distant enemies; all this is, I think, a false story that the Indians pass on from one to another owing to their excessive dread of the beast,” he said.
But because Aristotle included the manticore in his natural history, many people accepted the beast’s existence as fact well into the Medieval Period.