This beautiful stone lion sculpture was recently discovered by archaeologists of the University of Toronto at the site of the ancient citadel of Kunulua at Tell Ta'yinat in southeastern Turkey. It is believed to date back to the period of the neo-Hittite kingdom of Patina, between 950 BC - 725 BC, and thus may be almost 3,000 years old. You can read more about the discovery in this article from Science Daily.

The article quotes the director of the University of Toronto's Tayinat Archaeological Project, Professor Timothy Harrison, discussing the well-preserved work of art:
The lion is fully intact, approximately 1.3 metres in height and 1.6 metres in length. It is poised in a seated position, with ears back, claws extended and roaring. [. . .] The presence of lions, or sphinxes, and colossal statues astride the Master and Animals motif in the citadel gateways of the Neo-Hittite royal cities of Iron Age Syro-Anatolia continued a Bronze Age Hittite tradition that accentuated their symbolic role as boundary zones, and the role of the king as the divinely appointed guardian, or gatekeeper, of the community.
Lions are found guarding gates throughout the world. Lions in a similar "seated position with ears back, claws extended and roaring" commonly guard important gates and doorways in China, and have done so for centuries.

Interestingly, there is evidence of lion sculpture being used to guard gates in the Yucatan Peninsula in modern-day Mexico, at the ruins of Chichen Itza. In Before Columbus: The New History of Celtic, Phoenician, Viking, Black African, and Asian Contacts and Impacts in the Americas before 1492 (1980), by Dr. Samuel Davey Marble, the author discusses these anomalous artifacts:
A similar cultural anomaly is found in the portrayal of lions in the sculptured reliefs of the pyramids of Chichen Itza in Yucatan. Why lions, you ask, when there are no lions in North or South America? For the Egyptians, the Abyssinians, the Persians, and Israelites, the lion had been a symbol of power, force and fear. [. . .] To have a lion on the pyramid at Chichen Itza is a borrowed idea just as much as a statue of an anteater would be on the entrance of the US Supreme Court. The introduction of such forms, shapes and symbols into the life of the Olmecs was certainly a product of trans-Atlantic migration. 134.
The mention of the Olmecs is significant, for although Chichen Itza itself is a Maya site, the Olmecs famously depict "bearded jaguars" in their artwork, giving the jaguar which does not have a mane a distinctly leonine mane.

One pre-Columbian lion sculpture positioned in a doorway at Chichen Itza can be seen in this collection of photography from Robert Tingley. The blocky head of the feline suggests that the original artist was indicating a mane, and the proportions of the body are more suggestive of an African lion than a Central American jaguar or ocelot.

However, if that particular sculpture is not convincing enough of the proposition that ancient pre-Columbian artists depicted maned lions not indigenous to the Americas, check out the two photographs of an Aztec lion sculpture found on this website. That website is discussing the alleged "face on Mars," but if you scroll down a little over halfway through the long page, to the section entitled "The Feline Side of the Face on Mars," you will see a "figure 3" which shows two different views of a statue that any child could identify as an Old World lion.

Conventional anthropologists and historians absolutely refuse to admit the possibility that ancient mankind was capable of cultural contact across the mighty oceans thousands of years ago. They must therefore come up with explanations for such "bearded jaguars" as fanciful artistic depictions of jaguars having human beards, despite the fact that the Aztec and Maya typically did not have facial hair.

In their fanciful creations, according to this theory, those ancient artists just happened to stumble upon a made-up creature that looks startlingly like an animal that they had never seen, but which lives on other continents and just happens to have been commonly depicted guarding gates and doorways on those continents as well. What lucky guessers those ancient pre-Columbian artists were: in addition to somehow dreaming up and carving lions that they had never seen, they also depicted men with features typical of men that they had never seen either, including Europeans, Asians and Africans.

The newly-discovered lion of Tayinat points to the cultural commonalities shared by people who, according to the fables commonly taught as history today, never had any contact with one another. The lion art of Central America is just one small clue in a huge pile of other evidence pointing to the fact that the ancient timeline of mankind was far different from what we have been taught. Other evidence of long-standing ancient contact with the civilizations of Central and South America is discussed in the Mathisen Corollary book.

It is rare that a day goes by without some new discovery or item appearing in the news that supports the conclusion that modern theories of geology and history need to be radically revised.