Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Responses and Answers to Jaredites Posts – Part VI

Continuing with the comments that have been received regarding the most recent series we have posted on the Jaredites. 
    Comment #1: “How silly is the idea that a rock can glow with light? Couldn’t your Joseph Smith come up with a better solution?” Ricardo B.
    Response: This was answered in part in a previous post regarding radiluminescence.  (“Another Interesting View-Part III, Thurs Feb 5). In addition, we might add that all minerals have the ability to reflect light, which is what makes them visible to the human eye—and a few minerals have an interesting physical property known as "fluorescence." These minerals have the ability to temporarily absorb a small amount of light and an instant later release a small amount of light of a different wavelength. This change in wavelength causes a temporary color change of the mineral in the eye of a human observer. The color change of fluorescent minerals is most spectacular when they are illuminated in darkness by ultraviolet light (which is not visible to humans) and they release visible light.
Fluorescent rocks. Actually, anything that is visible to the naked eye is capable of reflecting light. These rocks absorb light at a particular wavelength, and then release the light at another wavelength
    This fluorescence occurs when the mineral is illuminated with specific wavelengths of light—ultraviolet, x-rays and cathode rays are the typical types of light that trigger the fluorescence. They excite susceptible electrons within the atomic structure of the mineral and the excited electrons temporarily jump up to a higher orbital within the mineral's atomic structure. When those electrons fall back down to their original orbital a small amount of energy is released in the form of light—called fluorescence. This wavelength is often distinctly different from the wavelength of the incident light, and the “glow” continues as long as the mineral is illuminated with light of the proper wavelength.
    How the Lord affected the stones he touched is not known, however, the point is, the Jaredite rock-light is not only believable, but can be done within our own knowledge, making it not “silly” but understandable—a fact that would not have been known to Joseph Smith in 1830.
    Comment #2: “If horses existed in ancient Mesoamerica during the Book of Mormon time period, then despite the fact that ancient Mesoamericans depicted many animals in art and ideology, they never depicted a horse or included the horse in any of their mythology. And if the horse existed in Mesoamerica since Jaredite times, then it left no trace of the sort of social evolutionary impact that we see in other cultures that possessed the horse” Clement R.
The tar pits located in Hancock Park before any interest in them was known and construction later started
    Response: It is interesting that of the animals found in the ancient oil seeps of the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits (not far form where I grew up), now part of the Hancock Park, in the Fairfax District, was one we call the llama. Not discovered until 1769, when the Portolà expedition of Spanish explorers chanced upon them and called them Los Volcanes de Brea (“the Tar Volcanoes”) because of the geyser-like eruptions. It was not until 1901 that the bones discovered from time to time in the tar pits were actually fossils when W. W. Orcult, a Union Oil geologist, chanced to see them.
    Not until the 1940s and 1950s were bones actually shown to the public and excitement generated about these ancient fossils that had been trapped in the tar formations over the centuries. In 1975, more than twenty-five years after I first saw and explored the pits, a museum was built beside the park on Wilshire along the famous Wilshire Miracle Mile, where I worked for several years.
The La Brea Tar Pits (Museum in background) depicting some of the many animals that had died there over the years and their fossils later discovered
    In 2009 the George C. Page Museum formally announced the discovery (three years earlier) of 16 fossil deposits which had been removed from the ground during the construction of an underground parking garage.
    These finds included a saber-toothed cat, wolves, bison, horses, a giant sloth, domestic dog, a lion and several small animals. Everything found in the tar pits dates to pre-historic times, often given outlandish ancient ages of the oldest being 38,000 years.
    It is interesting that insect bites on the lower leg and foot bones on many of the large animals found in the pits, including horses, have been identified as dernestrud and tenebrionid  beetles, which still crawl all over Southern California today, yet have been identified as having left the trace marks on the entrapped animals before they died, or at least before they were buried in the tar—which would have occurred in a period of only 17 to 20 weeks after being entrapped.
A painting depicting the entrapment of one of the horses found in the pits. Wolves and a cat are sneaking in for the kill, only to be later entrapped themselves
    “It is kind of surprising to find out what kinds of insects did this damage to the bones,” Blaire Van Valkenburg, a paleontologist at UCLA stated. It is also noteworthy that a human skeleton was found in the tar pits, referred to as La Brea Woman, who was 17 to 25 years of age when trapped in the tar some 10,000 years ago.
    The point is, there are three very important issues at hand here: 1) The horse mentioned earlier found in the tar pits; 2) A human skeleton found in the pits during the same time period; 3) A llama found there, considered to be the forerunner of the llamas that later migrated to South America in the Great American Interchange (the latter being the period when Panama became connected to South America). Since these periods coincide with occupation of the Americas after the Flood, and at the time of the rising of Panama above the ocean surface, it can be placed in the time frame of the Nephite nation as illustrated in several earlier posts.
La Brea Woman replica skull on display in the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
    The fact that people lived at the time of these fossils cannot be disputed, since a woman’s bones were found in the same environment. And also is the fact that North America animals did not show up in South America (and vica versa) prior to when the Panama connected occurred also places this event during the time of the Nephite nation.
    The American bison (bison bison) is claimed to have not evolved or existed prior to 5,000 to 10,000 years ago. It seems when you cut through all the evolutionary dating and get to the heart of the matter, these animals and people all seem to have a very recent time existence. For those who accept Moses time frame of the creation and earth’s existence as described in Genesis and the Pearl of Great Price, again, this coincides with the Nephite nation in the Americas.
Those animals that were not taken on the Ark died in the Flood. “All flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man“ (Genesis 7:21)
    The one thing we have to be careful of as readers of the scriptural record is that all animals all over the world became extinct in 2344 B.C. as the Flood waters rose about the mountain tops. What animals Noah had on the Ark are those that were available to repopulate the animal kingdom—this is a fact you will never find in any scientific community, magazine, discussion or article. It does, however, inarguably change the entire concept of animal kingdom, phylum, class or order, etc. as now known in zoology.

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