Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Where Are the Land of Promise Horses? – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding the cause of the so-called large mammal extinction in North America around the close of the last Ice Age, including the horse and its claimed disappearance in America.
    When Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in 1859 he faced a substantial problem. His evolutionary mechanism predicted that the fossil record would contain finely-graded transitions revealing what George G. Simpson would later term the “tempo of mode” of evolution, which integrated the facts of paleontology with those of genetics and natural selection. However, such transitional creatures that Darwin claimed would be found have proven elusive.
Left: The fossil record; Right: Fossils imbedded in ancient rock
This was a major problem for paleontologists who believed that studies of European geology represented an almost complete picture of Deep Time that had already been examined carefully. If the fossil evidence for Darwin’s theory had not yet been found then there was little chance it would be in the future.
    Darwin, of course, did not agree. Following the lead of his friend and mentor Charles Lyell, Darwin argued that the fossil record was not as complete or well-studied as was supposed. The discovery of the skeleton of the dinosaur-like bird Archaeopteryx in 1861 alone showed that the fossil record held many secrets left to be revealed. Other less spectacular “intermediate” fossils came to light or were reinterpreted in an evolutionary light, and in 1870 Thomas Henry Huxley was able to propose at least three evolutionary transitions among vertebrates supported by fossil evidence.
    Huxley knew well enough that two of the transitions, from terrestrial carnivores to whales and reptiles to birds, could not be represented in a real ancestor-descendant series. Instead Huxley said that the fossils in these transitions represented the form we might expect ‘straight line’ ancestors and descendants to take. The small dinosaur Compsognathus, for instance, was not a bird ancestor but a dinosaur representative of the kind of animal from which birds evolved (emphasis added).
    Horses were another matter. The work of paleontologists like Albert Gaudry and Vladimir Kowalevsky had illustrated the linear descent of modern horses (Equus) from multi-toed ancestors like Anchitherium and Hipparion. In fact, Paleotherium seemed like a good candidate for the evolutionary starting point for horses, which was believed a perfect graded evolutionary chain that appeared to confirm Europe as the birthplace of horses.
Collection of fossils of horses the station agent gave O.C. Marsh at the 1868 well diggings a primitive rail station called Antelope, in northwest Nebraska, about 65 miles east of Cheyenne and 155 miles north of Denver, which led to four Yale expeditions to gather more specimens. In 1870, 1871, 1872, and 1873, Marsh traveled with students into the fields of the West to collect fossils. One of his finds was the first American pterosaur fossil in 1871

However, this was hotly debated and not widely accepted, resulting in it eventually being scuttled when a collection of numerous fossil horses from the American west was discovered most notably by paleontologist Othniel C. Marsh. This resulted in the now accepted understanding that horses evolved in North America, not Europe, and the horses that formed the backbone of the lineages outlined by Gaudry, Kowalevsky, and Huxley represented “invasions” of types that had evolved in North America first.
    The question that today’s scientists still grapple with on this issue, is why did horses become extinct in ancient America? After all, if hardy wild horses were present during the Pleistocene period and thrived once they were re-introduced by the Spaniards, and are so successfully living in the wild, why were they missing when the Spaniards arrived? Darwin asked the same question and today’s scientists still grapple with this question. Our question today is, were they actually missing when the Spanish arrived?
    At least a few non-Mormon scholars believe that real horses (of a stature smaller than modern horses) may have survived New World extinction. The late British American anthropologist, Montague Francis Ashley-Montagu, previously known as Israel Ehrenberg, a non-LDS scholar who Studied at Harvard, University of London and the unit4sitie of Florence, taught at a number of schools including Rutgers, University of New Jersey where he chaired the department of anthropology, suggested that the horse never became extinct in America.
In fact, despite believing in evolution, Montagu was totally opposed to orthogenesis, such as the chart of the horses evolution. As he stated: “According to Montague, the size of post-Columbian horses provides evidence that the European horses bred with early American horses.” And regarding Marsh and Cope’s horse family tree from the Eocene to the present time, said that scientists had an “equine tendency to jump to conclusions without properly considering the obstacles,” and said wryly that it was “getting the chart before the horse” (M.F. Ashley Montagu, “Time, Morphology, and Neoteny in the Evolution of Man,” American Anthropologist, Vol.57, No.1, Pt.1, February 1955, p14).
    Also non-LDS Canadian researcher, Yuri Kuchinsky, also believes that there were pre-Columbian horses. Kuchinsky, however, believes that horses (smaller than our modern horses) were reintroduced into the west coast of the Americas about 2000 years ago from Asians who came by ship. Among Kuchinsky’s evidences for pre-Columbian horses are (1) horse traditions among the Indians that may pre-date the arrival of the Spaniards, (2) supposedly pre-Columbian petroglyphs that appear to depict horses, and (3) noticeable differences between the typical Spanish horse and the much smaller Indian ponies (Yuri Kuchinsky, “Did Native Americans Really Have the Horse Before Columbus?” Science Archaeology).
    Unfortunately, however, such opposing theories are typically seen as fringe among mainstream scholars, anthropologists and scientists. Due to the dearth of archaeological support, most scholars continue to believe that horses became extinct at the end of the Pleistocene period. Is it possible that real horses lived in the Americas during Book of Mormon times? After all, archaeologists have really never been involved in searching for h horse remains “because everyone knows that a few horses lost by Coronado's expedition produced all the horses used by all the tribes which used horses.”
    Does that really sound plausible? And if horse are that hardy in the wild, and produce that quickly, how is they went extinct in the first place? And why an extinction only in North America and not elsewhere in the world at the same time?
    In addition, a little history knowledge might be helpful. First of all, the mainstream dogma about the horse and the Indians is that the Pueblo Indians are claimed to have stolen some Spanish horses in the 1600s and sold then to their neighbors the Apaches.
Spanish conquistadors traveling to the fabled city of Quivira in 1540

However, what is known is that the Spanish first contacted the Indians in 1540, when Hernando de Alvarado and Francisco Vazquez de Coronado and their men encountered a band of Querechos on their journey to Quivira—a legendary Indian province first mentioned by a Pawnee captive named El Turco that supposedly lay to the east of New Mexico pueblos somewhere on the buffalo Plains. The interest in the Spanish was that the region was said to contain a large population with much gold and silver. However, when the Spaniards reached the supposed site of Quivira in 1541, they found only villages of grass huts and a partly agricultural, partly bison-hunting economy. It was then learned that El Turco had told his stories to lure the conquistadors away from the pueblos.
    Like most legends, this one grew out of a well known and totally unsuccessful expedition, yet Francisco Leyva de Bonilla and Antonio Gutiérrez de Humaña in 1595 and that Juan de Oñate in 1601 also visited Quivira, with the same disappointing results. In fact, Fray Juan de Padilla, who had accompanied the Coronado expedition, was martyred there after attempting to establish mission work among the Indians of Quivira. Such is the lure of gold, that the actual location of Quivira has been a source of controversy and speculation among historians, ethnologists, and archeologists alike ever since, with numerous historians and “experts” place the site either in Texas or Oklahoma, further than the Panhandle of Texas, the further east the Spaniards went. Others place the location in the Great Bend area of Wichita Kansas (David Donoghue, "The Location of Quivira," Panhandle-Plains Historical Review, Vol.13,1940; Frederick Webb Hodge, Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols.), GPO, Washington, 1907, 1910).
    The point is, that between 1656 and 1675, the Spanish settlers and the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico were friendly to one another and had the common enemy of the Apache Indians, who constantly conducted raids on both peoples. This finally led the Pueblo to drive the Spanish out of New Mexico in 1680 in what was called the “Pueblo Revolt.”
    The point is, with the Spanish and Pueblo Indians on friendly terms at this time, with the common enemy being the Apache, why on earth would the Pueblo, after stealing horses from the Spanish, sell them to their enemy, the Apache?
Wild herds roamed the hills and plains of the Americas

And how long would it take a small hand of horses to produce the kind of horse numbers to provide not only riding animals to the Apaches, but to be traded for wives, for guns, and for personal wealth to take place?
    This highly supported idea hardly sounds likely under these circumstances.
(See the next post, “Where Are the Land of Promise Horses? – Part III,” for more information about horses in the Americas and why the mention of horses in the Book of Mormon is not an error or misjudgment but a statement of actual fact)


  1. My daughter is taking an anthropology class in college in which the professor is teaching the "science" of evolution. I'm amazed at how little actual "science" is involved in this theory of speculation and guesses. I'm equally amazed at how foolish and convoluted the ideas sound. But it seems some people really needed something to believe other than that God created the earth and that he is our divine Father. If Satan can get man to believe he is just another animal evolved from an ape, rather than the truth that we are children of our Heavenly Father with divine potential and purpose, then Satan has accomplished a lot. By way of comparison to the theory of evolution, God's word clearly laid out in Genesis and other scriptures is so plain, clear, and true. Just in the first chapter of Genesis we learn: God created earth. God created each animal after their own kind (species-no evolution from one species to another), then God created man and woman after His own image. He gave them dominion over the animals (quite different than the false teaching that man evolved from animals). In other scriptures we learn that many animals went extinct around 2300 BC during the flood. Why such mystery about the creation and how dinosaurs went extinct? God already told us exactly how it happened. I'm grateful for plain and precious truths vs the convoluted illogical theories of men.

  2. The thing that amazes me is BYU actually teaches and believes this stuff. The protestant Christians are light years ahead of the Church even though we have far more scripture that debunks it.

  3. Hey guys, here are two new videos that I loved, addressing problems with uniformitarianism and dating species,etc. There are two parts: