Big cats prowled London's tower
The menagerie was a popular tourist attraction, hosting exotic animals.
Lions were particularly prized as the living emblems of the royal arms of England, much like modern mascots
Jeremy Ashbee, English Heritage
The project is a collaboration between scientists from Liverpool John Moores University and London's Natural History Museum.
It was established by King John, who reigned in England from 1199-1216, and is known to have held lions and bears. It was finally closed in 1835, on the orders of the Duke of Wellington.
"The menagerie seems to have been a private collection for the king, a sign that he enjoyed good relations with foreign monarchs, who presented him with animals," said Jeremy Ashbee of English Heritage, curator of the Tower of London.
"Lions were particularly prized as the living emblems of the royal arms of England, much like modern mascots."
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