THE SPHINXES AITHIOPIKOI were a breed of half-lion, half-woman animals native to Aithiopia (sub-Saharan Africa).
This creature was probably derived from travellers' accounts of a species of African baboon. In a similar fashion the Onokentauros was likely derived a traveller's account of a chimpanzee.
Pliny the Elder, Natural History 8. 72 (trans. Rackham) (Roman encyclopedia C1st A.D.) :
"Aethiopia (Ethiopia) produces Lynxes in great numbers, and Sphinxes with brown hair and a pair of udders on the breast, and many other monstrosities."
- Pliny the Elder, Natural History - Latin Natural History C1st A.D.