Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Deeper Meaning in Alma 22 – Part I

As Mormon is abridging Alma’s record, he runs across the story of the sons of Mosiah and skims through the account of Ammon (ch 17) and comes to the point where the missionary encounters king Lamoni’s father (who is unnamed in scripture), the chief king over all the Lamanite lands other than Ishmael, which he had given to his son, Lamoni (meaning “of Laman”) to rule over. 
    Mormon then skips to an account of Aaron who “after he departed from the land of Middoni he was led by the Spirit to the land of Nephi, even to the house and palace of the king which was over all the land save it were the land of Ishmael; and he was the father of Lamoni” (Alma 22:1). Mormon then recounts Aaron’s conversion of the Lamanite king, after which the king decided to send “a proclamation throughout all the land, amongst all his people who were in all his land, who were in all the regions round about, which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west, and round about on the borders of the seashore…” (Alma 22:27).
    What follows is an insert of Mormon that he adds to Alma’s account that is meant to give his future readers a glimpse of the layout of the Land of Promise, and specifically the land controlled by the Lamanites and where it was located in comparison with the Land controlled by the Nephites. Unfortunately, this insert has caused much confusion in the minds of many theorists who try to bend Mormon’s writings and meanings in the following 8 verses, which make up 25 lines and 486 words, to fit their own ideas, beliefs, and location models, rather than the intent of Mormon’s writing.
(left) King Lamoni and (center) Ammon in Lamoni’s chariot; (right) King Lamoni’s father, the great king over all the lands of Nephi and the Lamanites

Now, before doing so, we need to set the stage just for a moment. First of all, there are two kings involved at this time, the high Lamanite king or chief king, and his son, Lamoni. The Chief King is king over all of the Lamanite Kingdom except for the land called Ishmael. King Lamoni is the king over just the Land of Ishmael within that Lamanite Kingdom, which was where Ammon had been laboring.
    Mormon’s view of this land is given around 350 A.D., long after numerous earlier prophets and writers had given a full account of this area, especially the sons of Mosiah who had labored there in their lengthy mission. For the moment we will dispense with why Mormon is giving the layout of the land, and simply state what he says and its meaning:
1. [22:27] And it came to pass that the king sent a proclamation throughout all the land, amongst all his people who were in all his land,”
    In 1828, proclamation meant “the public or official announcement of an important matter,” “a clear declaration of something,” “an announcement by authority.”
    This proclamation went to every Lamanite living in the land the king controlled, called the Land of Nephi. Whether this proclamation was written, or heralded by king’s men who traveled through the land is not stated.
2. “which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west,”
    The Lamanite kingdom spread throughout the land and across from the Sea East to the Sea West…
3. “and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west”
    The Lamanite kingdom was divided from the Nephite lands by a narrow strip of wilderness (an unoccupied tract of land) that ran the entire width of the Land of Promise, from the Sea East to the Sea West.
4. “and round about on the borders of the seashore…”
    The narrow strip of wilderness curved up (round about) to run along the seashore both on the west and on the east coasts for a significant distance.
5. “and the borders of the wilderness which was on the north by the land of Zarahemla,”
    (“on the north” in this case is from the orientation of the Land of Nephi, which is what Mormon is describing—the narrow strip of wilderness is “on the north” of the Land of Nephi—or between the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla)
    The Nephi land of Zarahemla ran along the northern boundary of the narrow strip of wilderness, thus the Lamanite land, or Land of Nephi, ran along the southern boundary, with the narrow strip in between—the width of the narrow strip is not given other than “narrow.”
6. “through the borders of Manti, by the head of the river Sidon, running from the east towards the west”
    Manti is in the east, and south of Zarahemla. That is, Manti is up in the hills (mountains) south of Zarahemla, but north of the Land of Nephi. Thus, the border of the wilderness ran through the Land of Manti and across the river Sidon, the border of Manti running from the east towards the west.
7. “and thus were the Lamanites and the Nephites divided.”
    On the north of this narrow strip of wilderness was the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Manti and the head of the river Sidon. On the south of the narrow strip of wilderness was the Land of Nephi.
    Thus the Nephites and Lamanties were divided by, and only by, that narrow strip of wilderness. This is what Mormon is writing about. Everything south of this narrow strip was the king’s land and to whom the proclamation was written and distributed. Remember, Mormon, above all, spent his entire life (70 of 85 years) as a field commander of the entire Nephite military forces. Today we would call him a 5-star General (General of the Armies). From this and the many battles he fought against the Lamanites throughout the Land Southward, Mormon is in a unique position to know and write about the land over which he fought and in which the Nephite nation existed.
Again, this narrow strip of wilderness area was, along with its wildernesses on east and west coast that curved upward (round about), i.e., toward and into the Nephite lands (Land of Zarahemla), the single most important geographical area for the first 500 years between these lands until we are introduced to the narrow neck of land during Moroni’s time, which he spent a portion of his time defending against anyone getting through it to the land Northward. However, even Moroni spent a lot of time reinforcing the northern line of the narrow strip of wilderness building forts and resorts, etc. It was that critical of an area and Mormon spends time here—one entire verse (originally it was one paragraph talking about the same thing—the narrow strip of wilderness).
8. Now, the more idle part of the Lamanites lived in the wilderness, and dwelt in tents;
    Obviously, the more active part of the Lamanites lived in the cities the Nephites built before vacating them when Mosiah left. Probably the Lamanites the Nephites would have known most about were these idle ones dwelling in tents, since they were on either side of them along the seacoast and were evidently the ones Enos described (Enos 1:20).
9. “and they were spread through the wilderness on the west, in the land of Nephi; yea, and also on the west of the land of Zarahemla,
These idle, more barbaric Lamanites lived along the entire west coast, from the area of the city of Zarahemla in the Land of Zarahemla all the way to the south, past the narrow strip of wilderness and along the coast of the Land of Nephi.
(See the next post, “The Deeper Meaning in Alma 22 – Part II,” for more information and a deeper understanding of the relationship of areas mentioned by Mormon in Alma 22)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Incredible and Important South America

It is interesting that while numerous theorists have looked endlessly for possible locations of Lehi’s landing and the location of the Nephite nation, the center of such activity has been written in Church history from the beginning. Many members have been frustrated over the emphasis on Mesoamerica, which doesn’t line up directionally with Mormon’s descriptions, among other problems, and also because the New York Hill Cumorah does not readily fit Mormon’s description of Cumorah, and, again, among other problems, there has been a flood of differing locations and theories raised in search of the correct location.
As one looks around at the general terrain and topography of possible locations, South America, obviously does not look like a congenial fit in any way, appearing to be far too large to even consider for most uninformed people regarding the specific meanings found in the scriptural record left us by Nephi, Jacob, Mormon and Moroni that shed light on the finding of that Land of Promise area.
    Then, too, many others find the idea of the continent of South America coming up out of the water during the time of man to be unacceptable, so inundated are they that the Earth is 4.55 billion years old, they simply cannot see through the liberal, evolutionary concepts that have been fostered on them now for several generations. 
    In fact, evolutionary geology is the only thing regarding tdistant Earth history that has been taught in schools for over half a century.
    In addition, the configuration of South America today, completely lifted out of the ocean, does not resemble the Land of Promise descriptions left us by Mormon and the others in any way, shape or form, unless one becomes very conversant with the Andean uplift and Chilean-Peruvian shelf and history. But that, too, is not taught in schools and is unknown to most people.
    Yet, despite this, many Latter-day Saints have been interested in South America almost from the beginning of the Restoration.
    According to Chapter 3: The Dispensation of the Fulness of Times (“Teachings of Presidents of the Church” Wilford Woodruff, 2011, pp24–34), in the spring of 1834, Wilford Woodruff attended a priesthood meeting in Kirtland, Ohio. According to him, at this meeting he began to understand the destiny of the Church in this dispensation. He later recounted: “The Prophet called on all who held the Priesthood to gather into the little log school house they had there. It was a small house, perhaps 14 feet square. But it held the whole of the Priesthood of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were then in the town of Kirtland. That was the first time I ever saw Oliver Cowdery, or heard him speak; the first time I ever saw Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, and the two Pratts, and Orson Hyde and many others.
“There were no Apostles in the Church then except Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. When we got together the Prophet called upon the Elders of Israel with him to bear testimony of this work. Those that I have named spoke, and a good many that I have not named, bore their testimonies. When they got through the Prophet said, ‘Brethren I have been very much edified and instructed in your testimonies here tonight, but I want to say to you before the Lord, that you know no more concerning the destinies of this Church and kingdom than a babe upon its mother’s lap. You don’t comprehend it.’ I was rather surprised. He said ‘it is only a little handfull of Priesthood you see here tonight, but this Church will fill North and South America—it will fill the world” (Conference Report, April 1898, p57).
    Then in 1844, the Prophet declared that “the whole of America is Zion itself from north to south” (TPJS, 362).
    Elder Joseph Fielding Smith linked an Old Testament prophecy to the Americas when he suggested that Isaiah’s declaration of “Woe to the land shadowing with wings” (Isaiah 18:1) would be better translated, “Hail to the land in the shape of wings” (Signs of the Times, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 1974, p51). President Spencer W. Kimball tied all these thoughts together as he reminded the Saints in Brazil and Argentina that “Zion was all of North and South America, like the wide, spreading wings of a great eagle, the one being North and the other South America” (Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, April 1975, pp3-9).
    Elder Ezra Taft Benson understood the need that early on in the history of the Church that South America had to be prepared for the preaching of the Gospel. It was obvious to him that the hand of the Lord was involved in the process. As he stated: “In the decade prior to the restoration of the gospel, many countries of South America fought wars of independence to free themselves from European rule.”
It will be recalled that in the 1700s, Portugal controlled about 40% of South America, mostly in the northeast; Spain controlled all of Mexico and much of Central America and  about 55% of South America; with France, Netherlands, and England controlling small portions of territory. By 1820, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela had gained independence; in 1821, Mexico became independent in a violent struggle; also in 1821, both Guatemala and Peru became independent, and the following year Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and a portion of Argentina had gained their independence, all of these countries breaking free of European rule and indeed preparing the way for missionaries to enter these countries soon after the Church was organized.
    The independence of these countries was supported by the American government and most of Latin America protected by the inspired proclamation of the United States known as the Monroe Doctrine, which was passed in 1823, declaring that there should be no further colonization in the Americas by the European powers (Conference Report, October 1979). Finally, the divinely inspired Constitution of the United States (D&C 101:80) became the pattern for the written constitutions in most other American countries.
    There were inspired patriots in these countries that rose to the occasion, in somewhat the same manner as had happened in the United States earlier, to fight for and declare the freedoms of tyranny and foreign control, such as José Leonardo Chirino, José Caridad Gonzáles, José de San Martín, San Miguel de Tucumán, Simón Bolívar, and numerous others led the uprisings and eventually formed independent governments.
    The Church’s first contact with South America came in 1851, when Elder Parley P. Pratt, who had already been on a mission to Canada, crossed the Atlantic six times on missions to England; taken the gospel to Indian tribes and explored the Western United States, was appointed to preside over the “islands and coasts” of the Pacific, with headquarters at San Francisco. From there he sailed to Valparaiso, Chile, with his wife and another missionary, arriving early in November.
At this time, almost all the countries of South America had gained their independence, but revolutions continued in many areas, including Chile. These conditions diverted the people’s attention from an interest in religion, and despite Elder Pratt’s diligent efforts, he did not succeed in learning Spanish. He finally left Chile and returned home in March of 1852 (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt (Life and Travels of Parley P. Pratt), Law, King & Law, Chicago, 1888).
    Seventy-three years later the next missionary contact with South America when two two German families residing in Argentina wrote to the First Presidency in 1925, asking for missionaries to come and establish the Church. Elder Melvin J. Ballard of the Council of the Twelve, together with Elders Rey L. Pratt and Rulon S. Wells of the First Council of the Seventy, were sent to Buenos Aires in response. They dedicated South America for the preaching of the gospel. During the 8 months they were there, at a testimony meeting Elder Ballard was addressing a small congregation on July 4, 1926 in Buenos Aires. During his talk, he felt prompted to share a prophetic vision about the future in South America:
    “The work of the Lord will grow slowly for a time here just as an oak grows slowly from an acorn. It will not shoot up in a day as does the sunflower that grows quickly and then dies. But thousands will join the Church here. It will be divided into more than one mission and will be one of the strongest in the Church. The work here is the smallest that it will ever be. The day will come when the Lamanites in this land will be given a chance. The South American Mission will be a power in the Church” (Bryant S. Hinckley, Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin J. Ballard, quoted in Ballard, Deseret Book, 1949).
The first missionaries since World War II were sent to countries along the west coast of South America in 1956. Prior to that time, the church had grown a little, from the 329 members in South America in 1936, to 1,200 by1945, despite there being no missionaries there during the war. With a renewal of missionaries, the postwar decades witnessed an acceleration of Church growth.
    It should be noted that in South America, the Lamanite heritage is found in significantly greater numbers, and on May 1, 1966, Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, organized the first stake in South America at São Paulo, Brazil (Richard O. Cowan, "The Pace Quickens," Temples to Dot the Earth, Springville, Utah: Cedar Fort Inc., Springville, Utah, 1997). Six months later, the second stake was organized in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on November 20 (Fernando Assis, "Sao Paulo temple ready for re-dedication," Church News, 31 Jan. 2004).
    The growth of the Church in South America has been extraordinary compared to elsewhere in the world and it is obvious that South America could never have become a strong center of the Church without being “endowed with power from on high” (D&C 95:8). President Wilford Woodruff prophesied that temples would “appear all over this land of Joseph, North and South America” (Journal of Discourses, Vol 19:230). With the March 1975 announcement by Spencer W. Kimball at a conference in Brazil, that a São Paulo Temple would be built there in one of the largest cities of the world, the fulfillment of that prophecy began—at the time there were 15 stakes and about 54,000 members. In1978 it was dedicated, and a year later, the Church organized in São Paulo South America’s first missionary training center, and over the following twelve years an incredible 41 additional stakes were organized, with membership reaching 300,000.
As all these prophecies have been fulfilled, South America has become a land of extraordinary growth and importance in the Church, fulfilling the prophecy Joseph Smith gave to a handful of priesthood holders in Kirtland, Ohio, as recorded by Wilford Woodruff. It has also become a land of peace, with no kings governing it, and a fulfilment of the prophecy in the Book of Mormon(2 Nephi 10:11).

Thursday, August 17, 2017

How Ancient is Metallurgy in the Americas?

In the Land of Promise there is a long history of metallurgy among both the Jaredites and the Nephites.“And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance“ (2 Nephi 5:15)
And they did work in all manner of ore, and they did make gold, and silver, and iron, and brass, and all manner of metals; and they did dig it out of the earth; wherefore they did cast up mighty heaps of earth to get ore, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of copper. And they did work all manner of fine work“ (Ether 10:23)
And we…became exceedingly rich in gold, and in silver, and in precious things, and in fine workmanship machinery, and also in iron and copper, and brass and steel, making all manner of tools of every kind to till the ground, and weapons of war” (Jarom 1:8)
they became exceedingly rich, both the Lamanites and the Nephites; and they did have an exceeding plenty of gold, and of silver, and of all manner of precious metals, both in the land south and in the land north” (Helaman 6:9).
    Yet, there is and has been much controversy among Land of Promise theorists, especially those of Mesoamerica where no metallurgy has been found by archaeologists for more than a hundred years of looking dating prior to about 800 A.D., despite so many comments in the scriptural record that both the Jaredites (around 2000 B.C. to 600 B.C.) and the Nephites (600 B.C. to 385 A.D.) were heavily involved in metallurgy.
Ancient metallurgy

It should be noted that one of the oldest applied sciences, whose history can be traced back to its rudimentary beginnings around 6000 B.C., is Process Metallurgy, with there currently being 86 known metals, but before the 19th century only 24 of these metals had been discovered and, of these 24 metals, 12 were discovered in the 18th century. Therefore, from the discovery of the first metals - gold and copper until the end of the 17th century, some 7700 years, only 12 metals were known. Four of these metals, arsenic, antimony , zinc and bismuth , were discovered in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, while platinum was discovered in the 16th century. The other seven metals, known as the Metals of Antiquity, were the metals upon which civilization was based. These seven metals were: gold, copper, silver, lead, tin, iron (smelted) and mercury, and were known to the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.
    Of the seven metals, five can be found in their native states, i.e., gold, silver, copper, iron (from meteors) and mercury. However, the occurrence of these metals was not abundant and the first two metals to be used widely were gold and copper.
    Iron oxides have been used extensively in the Americas from the Paleoindian period up to the ethnographic present, and the oldest site is that of the Andes Mountains of northern Peru and southern Ecuador. In fact, not everyone is acquainted with the literal richness of these lands, with Peru today grabbing the top 6th spot in terms of gold production in the entire world, producing 150 metric tons of gold in 2014 alone, making it the largest gold producer in all of South America. Peru, which saw the birth anciently of the Norte Chico civilization, the Cupisnique and Chavín cultures, the Paracas, Nazca, Mochica and Chimu civilizations, growing eventually from a similarly small ethnic group, the Quechuas, into what was known as the Incas in the early 1500s.
Iron mine in ancient Peru, dated to 100 B.C.

At least 3000 years before the emergence of metallurgy in Mesoamerica, the riches of the Andes was well known. Due to a recurring tectonic process known as the Andean cycle, the mountain range holds some of the world’s finest mineral deposits, of which gold, copper, silver and lead are included. As such, placer mining became fairly common during B.C. times, with gold found largely in the rivers flowing from the Andes.
    When explorer Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt, a Prussian geographer, naturalist and scientist, traveled extensively through Ecuador and Peru (1799-1804), he noted how the Ecuadorian people “live poorly amid incomparable riches.”
    The land, he found, whose gold was concentrated mostly in the southern areas of the country, was rich with gold, and along with Peru, Colombia, and Chile, are today some of Latin America’s wealthiest countries in terms of mineral output, including gold, silver and copper (Peru 6th, Colombia 18th, Chile 20th, Ecuador 35th of the top 100 countries in the world; and in the Western Hemisphere, Peru is 2nd, Colombia 7th, Chile 8th, and Ecuador 10th, of 40 countries.
Vaughn working on a National Geographic funded project on prehispanic mining on the south coast of Peru, here shown at Mina Primavera, funded by the National Science Foundation and the Heinz Foundation

Despite the fact that mining is an extractive industry, according to Kevin J. Vaughn, an archaeologist and Professor of anthropology at Purdue University, claims that “it destroys archaeological evidence making the finding of ancient mines rare discoveries,” yet, mines have been found in the Andean regions of South America dating to B.C. times.
    As an example, in Peru, an ancient Iron ore mine was discovered in the Andes, high in the mountains of Peru, dating back to the last century B.C. The mine, which is nearly 700 cubic meters, is in a cliffside facing a modern ochre (iron) mine, and has an estimated 3,710 metric tons extracted during more than 1,400 years of use (Journal of the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, Pittsburg, PA, December 2008).
The find offers proof that an ancient people in the Andes mined hematite iron ore many centuries before the Inca Empire. In fact, the extraction occurred at an average rate of 2.65 tonnes per year, suggesting regular and extensive mining prior to Spanish conquest. Such a find demonstrates that iron ores were important to ancient Andean civilizations. Vaughn also added, “Some evidence suggests that ancient Andeans smelted metals like copper to make ‘prestige goods’ for the elite classes” (Kelly Heam, National Geographic News, 2008).
    Ion addition, anvils, gold foil, and stone hammer were found at a site in south-centeral Peru that dates to around 1400 B.C., and drops in mercury content shows as usage of metallurgy through heating and volatilization.
    In Chile, an ancient mine at San Ramón, located on the arid coast of northern Chile, is a prehistoric mine with associated tailings and mining debris exploited during the Late Archaic (2300 B.C.), representing the earliest known mining activity in the Americas. This discovery has important implications, including (1) the record of undisputed mining activity in the continent is extended by several millennia, showing the first insights into Early Archaic mining techniques and technologies; (2) the earliest inhabitants of the Pacific Coast of South America had a well-developed mining knowledge, that is, they were hunter-gatherer-fisher-miner communities; and (3) mobility patterns of early nomadic maritime adaptations in northern Chile were influenced by repeated access to iron oxide pigments used mainly for symbolic purposes.
In Colombia, mining of kaolinite and hematite strted in the period shortly after the Last Ice Age, and  ancient goldmaking dates to at least 500 B.C. with finds of hammered gold funnery masks, and Colombian metallurgists fashioned gold into some of the most visually dramatic and sophisticated works of art found anywhere in the Americas before European contact (Ancient Colombian Golkdmaking,” South America Before European Colonization, Khan Academy, The British Museum, 2017). And copper is found mined in Colombia in the last century B.C.
    In North America, natives mined copper on the shores of Lake Superior in prehistoric times between 4,000 and 1,200 B.C. Copper jewelry and implements from Wisconsin and Upper Michigan were part of a trade network that stretched from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf Coast, giving rise to the name "Old Copper Culture," also known as the Old Copper Complex. Made up of early inhabitants of the Great Lakes region during a period that covered several thousand square miles. The most conclusive evidence suggests that native copper was utilized to produce a wide variety of tools beginning in the Middle Archaic period circa 4,000 BC. The vast majority of this evidence comes from dense concentrations of Old Copper finds in eastern Wisconsin. These copper tools cover a broad range of artifact types: axes, adzes, various forms of projectile points, knives, perforators, fishhooks and harpoons. By about 1,500 BC artifact forms began to shift from utilitarian objects to personal ornaments, which may reflect an increase in social stratification toward the Late Archaic and Early Woodland period (Pleger 2000)."
    According to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Anthropology and museum Studies website, there has been little dispute over the last century that the primary copper sources that were exploited by the Old Copper Complex manufactures came from natural ore deposits spanning 120 miles along the southern shores of Lake Superior on the Keweenaw Peninsula. This native metal has an exceptional ratio of pure copper, typically over 95%. The most heavily utilized mines were discovered at Isle Royale, Keweenaw and Ontonagon. The following is an excerpt from the turn of the last century by Mr. J.T. Reeder of the Tamarack Mining Company in Calumet, Michigan, as he describes the ore deposits in this region: “Around the Victoria location, the old Minnesota (now Michigan), the Rockland, the Mass and Adventure, and Winona, are hundreds of old Indian copper pits. To say that there are thousands would not be exaggerating. They extend from a few feet to as much as thirty feet into the gravel and solid rock" (Brown 1904:54).
The difference between metallurgy and hammering is considerble in ability and technique as well as result: Left: Top and Bottom--Copper Metallurgy; Right: Top and Bottom--Copper Hammering and Annealing 
    It should be kept in mind that this is not metallurgy per se, since it does not involve the use of iron and normal smelting procedures, but rather simply hammering and annealing.
    The first iron works in North America, called Hammersmith, began operation in 1647 A.D. in Saugus, Massachusetts. Some of the most important ironmaking regions of the country in colonial America were in eastern Pennsylvania near the Delaware River, western Pennsylvania around the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, and the Hudson River valley in New York and New Jersey. In the Great Lakes area, the Gogebic Range is an elongated area of iron ore deposits in northern Michigan and Wisconsin. It extends west from Lake Namakagon in Wisconsin to Lake Gogebic in Michigan or almost 80 miles. Though long, it is only about a half mile wide and forms a crescent concave to the southeast. Not discovered until 1848, ore was not produced until 1883.
    Thus, the earliest true metallurgy was found in South America, specifically Ecuador, Peru, Chile, etc., dating to 2155-1936 B.C. (Mark Aldenderfer, et al, “Four-thousand-year-old gold artifacts from the Lake Titicaca basin, southern Peru,” PNAS, Vol 105 (13), 2008, pp 5002-5005).

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Are Wild Horses Native to the Americas – Part IV

-->Continuing from the previous post regarding the horse in the Americas and how it was claimed to have been extinct during Jaredite and Nephite times, and also a discussion here of the fascinating breed called the Curly Horse found in both North and South America.
Curly Horses of both North and South America, genetically connected to the ancient Equus of North America

In fact, mustangs from the curly horses in the Pryor Mountains are believed to have been here since at least the late 1600s, and most of the animals have only five lumbar vertebrae (common in primitive horses), and many often have a curly winter coat (Fran Lynghaug, The Official Horse Breeds Standards Guide). The presence of only five lumbar vertebrae is also found in the American Curly Horse, a breed well known to the Lakota and other tribes at least as early as 1800. Curlies were made famous by the Damele family in Nevada, who first saw Curlies running with wild mustangs in Nevada around 1900. When they discovered that the Curlies were especially well adapted to surviving very cold winters that killed other horses, the family started raising the Curlies as ranch horses, and still breed them today. Curly Horses were seen running wild in southern Alberta as recently as 50 years ago, and can still be seen in wild herds of the American west. Wildlife photographer Barbara Wheeler has photographed many Curly Horses in the wild in Nevada and Wyoming.
    In fact, according to Dale Wooley, author of The Dameles and the American Curly Horse, “When the Dameles first began catching Curly horses out of the Mustang herds, they were big, coarse-looking horses with non-refined heads, bodies, and legs.”
    The point is, curly horses were seen running wild in southern Alberta as recently as 50 years ago, and can still be seen in wild herds of the American west, many of which have been filmed in the wild in Nevada and Wyoming. Perhaps the Curlies are living proof that the genes of the ancient North American horses still exist in modern horse populations, which would mean that they were here before the arrival of the Spanish horses introduced into the Americas after the Spanish conquest. After all, the distinctive genetic marker that separates them from other horses today is the gene for the curly coat.
These ancient horses have also been found in South America. According to author Felix Azara, who wrote in his Natural History of Quadrupeds in Paraguay (1802), “I have seen many curly-haired horses, ones which are called “Pichai” in Paraguay. Their hair is kinky.” In addition, Charles Darwin reports seeing Curly Horses in Paraguay in a book published in 1868. It is very possible that the curly hair of the North American and Paraguayan horses both show a link to the original Equus of North America—a species that never went extinct after all.
    Of course, the question arises, how did these horses survive Noah’s Flood? The simple fact is, that the Curly Horse is a breed akin to the Russian Lokai, a breed of horse indigenous to the Asian Steppes area in Tajikistan. According to Azara, these horses have a connection to pre-Columbian Curly Horse of the Americas found in both Alaska and Paraguay (also Northern United States). Now, Tajikistan, previously known as Tajik, is a mountainous country just to the east of the Caspian Sea where the people currently known as Iranians first populated, making them concurrent with the area where Noah’s Ark landed along the Turkey-Armenian border (an area that was ruled by the Turks) and would have been in the area where many of the animals of the Ark would have filtered into upon being released. Such Curly horses would have been available to the Jaredites, and as the scriptural record tells us they had the horse when in the land of promise (Ether 9:19).
    The point is, the Curly Horse, whose curls shed moisture and contract in winter, giving them a resiliency against the cold, and have gentle temperaments, and a calmness that makes them excellent family horses that are highly intelligent, with good memories and the ability to assess situations and figure things out, existed anciently in only two known places in the world, 1) the Americas, and 2) the Asian Steppes (next door to Mesopotamia) and possibly as far east as China. The Europeans and Spanish who came to America and brought horses, would not have had access to the Asian Steppes horsesanimals that are not indigenous to Europe or the Middle East, Africa, etc.
There is also a mention of a Curly Horse in China in 161 A.D., in both artwork and bas-relief statues in the tomb of Emperador Taizong Tang (28 January 598 – 10 July 649), a T’ang dynasty emperor who died in 649, and includes a yellow curly horse.
    For those who deny the Flood, claiming American horses were extinct by 13,000 to 12,000 years ago, the Curly Horse existed in the Americas some 5,000 years later, consequently, would have been in the Americas in pre-Columbian times; for those who accept the Flood, the Jaredites would have had access to the Lokai Curley Horse of the Steppes, and could have brought it to the Americas among their many herds (Ether 9:19), again, and either way, the horse was in America in pre-Columbian times.
   It should also be of interest that Dr. Steven E. Jones, in an article entitled “Were There Horses in the Americas Before Columbus?” Because his comments on this subject are critically important, we list them here extensively:
    “About twelve years ago, I began a project to seek horse bones from sites in North America and Mesoamerica for the purpose of radiocarbon dating. In this research, I was joined by Prof. Wade Miller of the BYU Department of Geology, archaeologists Joaquin Arroyo-Cabrales and Shelby Saberon, and Patricia M. Fazio of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center…we secured horse bones for dating, some directly from the field. Then state-of-the-art radiocarbon dating was performed at Stafford Laboratories in Colorado, the University of California at Riverside, or Beta Analytic in Miami, Florida, employing Accelerator Mass Spectrometer dating methods.”
    The time frame sought extended “from 10,000 BP (thus after the last ice age) to 500 BP (when Spaniards soon after Columbus brought horses to America). The prevailing paradigm holds that there were no horses in the Americas during this time interval; the Book of Mormon and a number of native American oral traditions hold otherwise. The samples in this study can be divided into two categories according to their origins: Mexico, and the United States.”
It should be noted that this study, was sponsored and funded by FARMS (Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies) and ISPART (Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts), both BYU academics organizations, and included only North America and Mesoamerica. No part of the study included South America.
    Dr. Jones continued: “Forty-five Equus samples were obtained in Mexico. Based on AMS dating, there was one sample from the Ice Age period, and six from the post-Columbus period. Other samples had insufficient collagen in the bone to permit dating—collagen protein locks in carbon-14, permitting accurate C-14 dating. Thus, the laboratories require a certain minimum amount of collagen in order to proceed with the dating. There were no Equus samples found in this study in Mesoamerica for the time interval 14,700 BC to 1650 AD.”
    On the other hand, “in North America, there are found Equus samples which do indeed appear in the time frame between the last ice age and the arrival of Columbus. The first of these was found in Pratt Cave near El Paso, Texas, by Prof. Ernest Lundelius of Texas A&M University. Prof. Lundelius responded to my inquiries and provided a horse bone from Pratt Cave which dated to BC 6020 – 5890. This date is well since the last ice age, into the time frame when all American horses should have been absent [extinct] according to the prevailing paradigm.”
    In addition, other bone specimens were identified in the “extinct horse” time frame, as Dr. Jones points out: “Another Equus specimen was identified by Elaine Anderson, an expert on Equus identification, at Wolf Spider cave, Colorado. It dated to 1260 – 1400 A.D., again clearly before Columbus. Dr. Patricia Fazio of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, has joined our network of researchers in this field…and alerted us to a horse bone found at Horsethief Cave in Wyoming which dates to approximately 3,124 BP, i.e., 1124 BC, using thermoluminescent methods…Dr. Fazio also pointed to a publication, The Wyoming Archaeologist (Vol 38, pp55-68), where results of a horse bone found in Wyoming were dated to 1426 – 1481 A.D. (one sigma calibrated dates) using AMS methods, well before Columbus.”
    It can also be pointed out that a paper by Dr. R. Alison notes evidence for horses in Canada dating 900 and 2900 years ago, and it should be kept in mind that the European horses arrived on the new-world mainland with Cortes in 1519 A.D.--only 500 years ago [Henry, Marguerite and Wesley Dennis. All About Horses. Random House, 1962].
Dr. Jones adds, “Thus, there are a half dozen dated Equus samples that date in the time frame 6,000 BC to 1481 AD, well since the last ice age and all before Columbus. Note that all of these radiometrically-dated Equus remains were found in North America.”
(For sake of better understanding Dr.  Jones, he was a Professor of Physics at Brigham Young University where he served for over 21 years before his retirement in 2007. He conducted doctoral research at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and received his Ph.D. in Physics from Vanderbilt University in 1978. He received his B.S. degree in Physics from Brigham Young University in 1973, where he held a David O. McKay Presidential Scholarship—his research interests include studies in archaeometry, fusion and solar energy).
    Thus, when combining all this information, it is extremely difficult for any critic or appeaser to suggest that the horse did not exist in the Americas prior to the coming of Columbus, the Spanish  conqjuistadors and later the Europeans.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Are Wild Horses Native to the Americas – Part III

Continuing from the previous post regarding the horse in the Americas and how it was claimed to have been extinct during Jaredite and Nephite times.
Eqquus ferus looked similar to the wild Asiatic horse which had a reddish-brown bodyh with a black upright mane and black tail and legs

Despite a great deal of variability in the size of the Pleistocene equids from differing locations (mostly ecomorphotypes), a study conducted at the Ancient Biomolecules Centre of Oxford University shows that the DNA evidence strongly suggests that all of the large and small caballine samples belonged to the same species. The author states, “The presence of a morphologically variable caballine species widely distributed both north and south of the North American ice sheets raises the tantalizing possibility that, in spite of many taxa named on morphological grounds, most or even all Americas caballines were members of the same species” (emphasis added; Jaco Weinstock, et al, “Evolution Systematics, and Phylogeography of Pleistocene Horses in the New World,” PLOS research article, 2005).
    The work of Michael Hofreiter examining the genetics of the so‐called E. lambei from the permafrost of Alaska, found that the variation was within that of modern horses, which translates into E. lambei actually being E. caballus, genetically (M. Hofreiter, M., Serre, D. Poinar, H.N. Kuch, M., Pääbo, S., Ancient DNA. Nature Reviews Genetics. 2(5), 2001, pp353-359). Thus, as Hofreiter adds, “the molecular biology evidence is incontrovertible and indisputable, and is also supported by the interpretation of the fossil record, as well.”
    More recent work (Ludovic Orlando et al., “Revising the recent evolutionary history of equids using ancient DNA,” Paleogenetics and Molecular Evolution, Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle de Lyon, National Science Foundation, 2009) that examined the evolutionary history of a variety of non-caballine equids across four continents, found evidence for taxonomic “oversplitting” from species to generic levels.
Australian Center for Ancient DNA (ACAD), University of Adelaide, Australia, which does research on DNA in Australia and across the Southern Hemisphere

This oversplitting was based primarily on late-Pleistocene fossil remains without the benefit of molecular data. A co-author of this study, Dr. Alan Cooper, of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, stated, “Overall, the new genetic results suggest that we have underestimated how much a single species can vary over time and space, and mistakenly assumed more diversity among extinct species of megafauna.”
    Work of this nature even confirms the similar social organization of those early horses, and reveals that E. caballus originated from very few males and many females, a pattern consistent with the species’ social organization today (N.C. Lau et al., Abundant primary piRNAs, endo-siRNAs, and microRNAs in a Drosphila ovary cell line, Genome Res, 2009).
    According to Kirkpatrick,"the fact that horses were domesticated before they were reintroduced matters little from a biological viewpoint. They are the same species that originated here. As has been pointed out, the key element in describing an animal as a native species is (1) where it originated; and (2) whether or not it co‐evolved with its habitat. Clearly, E. caballus did both, here in the Americas. There might be arguments about “breeds,” but there are no scientific grounds for arguments about “species.”
"The non‐native, feral, and exotic designations given by agencies are not merely reflections of their failure to understand modern science but also a reflection of their desire to preserve old ways of thinking to keep alive the conflict between a species (wild horses), with no economic value anymore (by law), and the economic value of commercial livestock"
As an example, a few years ago a helicopter friend flew a BLM contingent up onto a mountainous area in Southern Utah to get rid of a large herd that couldn’t be driven off the mountain. They did not belong there, were not indigenous to the area though they had been there for a number of years. The BLM group went up and shot them all because they were not “natural” to the area.
    Native status for wild horses would place these animals, under law, within a new category for management considerations. As a form of wildlife, embedded with wildness, ancient behavioral patterns, and the morphology and biology of a sensitive prey species, they may finally be released from the “livestock‐gone‐loose” appellation (J. F. Kirkpatrick, Revised May 2010. Wild Horses as Native North American Wildlife. The Science and Conservation Center, ZooMontana, Billings)
    Another example of horse classification is Ann Forstén’s (Zoological Institute at the University of Helsinki) analysis of E. lambei, the Yukon horse, which was the most recent Equus species in North America prior to the horse's disappearance from the continent. Her examination of E. lambei mtDNA (preserved in the Alaskan permafrost) has revealed that the species is genetically equivalent to E. caballus. That conclusion has been further supported by Michael Hofreiter, of the Department of Evolutionary Genetics at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, who has found that the variation fell within that of modern horses.
Thus, the wild horse in the United States is generally labeled non-native by most federal and state agencies dealing with wildlife management, but the two key elements for defining an animal as a native species are where it originated and whether or not it coevolved with its habitat. E. caballus can lay claim to doing both in North America. Thus, it cannot be said that the American horse became extinct, but continued on through the centuries. What happened to it, why the native cultures did not use the animal as later native Americans did, is unknown, or in fact, not known that they did not use the horse. We do know from the Book of Mormon that it was in the Land of Promise, thus in South America—an area so large, most has still not yet been discovered, whether or not such animals existed when the Spanish arrived will never be known.
    As time has passed since the original concept that all horses disappeared from the Americas by 12,000 B.C. or so, new scientific discoveries, according to author Terry McNamee, kept pushing the supposed date of extinction of America's horses closer to the present day. Now it seems clear that there probably was no such extinction at all (The survival of Horses in Pre-Columbian America, 2013).
    Recent DNA analysis of a frozen Yukon Horse carcass found in the Alaskan permafrost in 2009 showed that horses were still living in North America as recently as 7,600 years ago (5600 BC), according to researcher Ross MacPhee, the American Museum of Natural History's Curator of Mammology.
    According to Terry McNamee in The Survival of Hores in Pre-Columbian America, “The idea that horses could have survived into more recent times in areas south of Alaska and the Yukon was suggested 40 years ago by archaeologist Paul S. Martin, a former anthropologist and archaeologist and lifelong associate of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, specializing in pre-Columbian cultures of the southwestern U.S. He said that there was no reason why horses could not have survived in isolated areas of North America as late as 2000 B.C. (Paul S. Martin, "The Discovery of America," Science 179, 1973). But more recent discoveries are revealing that horses may have been present in North America much longer, even right up to the time when Europeans “reintroduced” horses to the Americas.
(See the next post, “Are Wild Horses Native to the Americas – Part IV,” for more information about the horse in the Americas when it was claimed to have been extinct and the fascinating breed called the Curly Horse found in both North and South America)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Are Wild Horses Native to the Americas – Part II

Continuing from the previous post regarding the horse in the Americas and how it was claimed to have been extinct during Jaredite and Nephite times. 
    According to Richard Gillespie in "Updating Martin's global extinction model" (Quaternary Science Reviews, Vol 27 (27-28) 2008, pp2522-2529), there are some inconsistencies between the current available data and the prehistoric overkill hypothesis. For instance, there are ambiguities around the timing of sudden extinctions of Australian megafauna. Biologists note that comparable extinctions have not occurred in Africa and Southeast Asia, where the fauna evolved with hominids" (humans and their ancestors).
Megafaunal animals claimed to have lived in the Americas

In fact, it is believed that post-glacial megafaunal (large or giant animals) "extinctions in Africa have been spaced over a longer interval."
    Yet, despite all the discussion of some catastrophic event that wiped out every single horse on the face of the North and South American continents, the idea of such is illogical and hard to envision under any circumstances but one. And that reasonable possibility is the single one that science will not even consider—Noah’s Flood.
That means horses, and all animals and living things would have been destroyed and have to be reintroduced by man—Noah’s descendants. Enter the Jaredites, and the importance of their colonization of the New World, or Western Hemisphere soon after the Flood and directly after the separation of lands that took place in Peleg’s lifetime.
    When the Lord told the Brother of Jared that He would meet him, his brother, and their friends in a valley to the north (Ether 1:42) named after Nimrod (Ether 2:1)probably the best known individual of his dayhe told him, “Go to and gather together thy flocks, both male and female, of every kind; and also of the seed of the earth of every kind; and thy families; and also Jared thy brother and his family; and also thy friends and their families, and the friends of Jared and their families” (Ether 1:41), they also caught fowls of the air and fish of the waters (Ether 2:2); and honey bees (Ether 2:3).
    When the Jaredites reached the New World, or the promised land, they had within their eight barges, numerous animals, herd animals of every kind, which, according to sociobiologists (social behavior resulting from evolution) and behavioral ecologists (animal behavior resulting from the proximate causes of ontogeny, survival value, and phylogeny of behavior), include grazing animals, such as goats, sheep, cattle, elephants, camels, horses, asses, bison, boars, caribou, deer, moose, oxen, pigs, antelope, etc.
    Of course, with probable space requirements in the barges they would not have had to have many large adult mammals, if any, for they could have brought young animals that could finish their growth after landing, thereby saving space in the barges for people and supplies.
    The point is, with these herds and flocks, they repopulated the animals in the Western Hemisphere. The animals that were wiped out by the Flood began to repopulate from those the Jaredites brought—no doubt others, not included by the Jaredites came with the Europeans when they arrived.
“And they also had horses, and asses, and there were elephants and cureloms and cumoms; all of which were useful unto man, and more especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms”
(Ether 9:19)

Assuming the Jaredites brought horsessince it is listed in the Ether record we can accept that they didthe question paleontologists propose is "were the wild horse of the Americas truly wild?" This was the concluding question in the previous post.
The horses we call wild, from the mustangs to the Exmoor ponies to the "wild" horses of the Camargue marshes are technically all feral horses, descendants of domesticated horses that have been living on their own and reproducing for decades, or even centuries, without significant influence from people. The one single sub-species of horse that is still entirely wild, having never been domesticated by humans is the endangered Przewalski's horse, which is native to the steppes of Mongolia

Of this, Dr. Jay F. Kirkpatrick, director of the Science and Conservation Center, Billings, Montana,   and Dr. Patricia M. Fazio, environmental history from Texas A&M, in "Wild Horses as Native North American Wildlife" (The Science and Conservation Center, Montana, Billings, Revised January 2010) ask: "Are they truly “wild,” as an indigenous species in Americas, or are they “feral weeds” – that is, barnyard escapees, far removed genetically from their prehistoric ancestors?" The question at hand is, therefore, whether or not modern horses, Equus caballus, should be considered native wildlife. At first glance, it may not seem like it, but the question is legitimate, and the answer important.
"Wild" American Horses are actually ferel horses, descended from domestic breeds

As Kirkpatrick and Fazio continue: "In North America, the wild horse is often labeled as non‐native, or even an exotic species, by most federal or state agencies dealing with wildlife management, such as the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. The legal mandate for many of these agencies is to protect native wildlife and prevent non‐native species from causing harmful effects on the general ecology of the land. Thus, management is often directed at total eradication, or at least minimal numbers. If the idea that wild horses were, indeed, native wildlife, a great many current management approaches might be compromised. Thus, the rationale for examining this proposition, that the horse is a native or non‐native species, is significant."
    Obviously, then, these recent findings have an unexpected implication. It is firmly believed that domesticated horses were introduced into North America at the time of the Spanish conquest--obviously, some of these horses would have escaped captivity, either during battles where the riders were killed or at other times. It is also believed that these escaped horses subsequently spread throughout the American Great Plains. As Kirkpatrick and Fazio claim (Live Science, 2008), "Based on today's terminology, such escaped wild horses that survive are designated "feral" and regarded as intrusive, exotic animals, unlike the native horses that died out at the end of the Pleistocene." This was a time, according to Bjorn Carey (Live Science, 2006) about 12,000 years ago that a global cooling event caused the extinction of many large mammals in North America. However, as Kirkpatrick and Fazio add, "whether or not horses were domesticated before they were reintroduced matters little from a biological viewpoint. Indeed, domestication altered them little, as we can see by how quickly horses revert to ancient behavioral patterns in the wild."
    The genus Equus it is said, which includes modern horses, zebras, and asses, is the only surviving genus in a once diverse family of horses that included 27 genera. When the genus Equus originated is not known, though experts claim that evidence of their dispersal from North America to Eurasia is documented.
Left: E. Lambei; Right: E. Caballus. Both are the same animal as has been shown by recent DNA testing and analysis

The relatively new field of molecular biology, using mitochondrial‐DNA analysis, which is mainly used for identification of protected species and genetic diversity of wildlife, has recently revealed,  that the origin and etymology of caballine (caballinus), or our modern horse, E. caballus, is genetically equivalent to E. lambei, a horse, according to fossil records, that represented the most recent Equus species in North America prior to extinction, as Kirkpatrick and Fazio have pointed out and that not .only is E. caballus genetically equivalent to E. lambei, also known as the Yukon horse, but, according to Ann Forstén of the Zoological Museum in Helsinki, Finland (Mitochondrial-DNA time-tablke and the evolution of Equus, Finnish Zoological Publishing board, 1990/1992) there is no evidence existing for the origin of E. caballus anywhere except in North America.
    It should also be noted that a mitochondrial-DNA-based timetable for the branching of the extant species of the genus Equus as compared with the record of dated fossils of that genus was conducted in Forstén's research and covered in her article her quoted only in part.
(See the next post, “Are Wild Horses Native to the Americas – Part III,” for more information about the horse in the Americas when it was claimed to have been extinct)