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clarkgoble

Horses in the Book of Mormon

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5 minutes ago, PacMan said:

And then there's the Curly horse. 

Darwin documented curly horses in South America in the early 1800s, and Native Americans considered them both sacred mounts and battle mounts.  Furthermore, pioneers recorded seeing them in the Western US.  In fact, a Native American 18901 drawing by High Dog, a Lakota Indian, depicts Sioux stealing Curly horses from Crow Indians.

No one knows where they came from.  Speculation is that some group of unspecified Russians brought them to South America.  But that's unfounded speculation.

Game.  Set.  Match.

A cursory Google search yields this:

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Excerpt from Chapter 6, “Peculiarities of Hair Growth”, in Equine Color Genetics by D. Phillip Sponenberg, DVM, PhD, Iowa State University Press/Ames, 1996.

 "A rare variant in hair growth is the curly trait. Curly horses have curled body hair, and also curly mane and tail. The winter coat of most curly horses is very, very curled. The summer coat is frequently only subtly curled, so horses could be misidentified. Another peculiarity of some curly horses is the shedding of the mane and tail along with the winter body coat each spring. The curly trait is the basis of a few registries, even though it occurs in several different breeds.

 "At least two independent genetic mechanisms can lead to curly horses. One of these is due to a recessive mutation, and is symbolized as CrRc for curly at the Curly recessive locus. This mechanism accounts for most curly horses that crop out of straight-haired breeds. This occurs in the Missouri Fox Trotter and the Percheron, among others. The other mechanism is dominant, and is symbolized as CrDc for curly at the Curly dominant locus. Horses homozygous for CrDc are reputed to be more curled than heterozygous horses. This allele is responsible for most Asiatic curly horses (notably the Lokai breed), and also most of those in the Western Hemisphere. Most curly horses in the Western Hemisphere descended from Spanish horses brought over during the conquest, and these occur in both North America and South America. Although the curly trait is dominant in these horses, it does have variable expression. Occasional horses with the CrDc allele are minimally curly, do not shed the mane and tail, and could be easily missed as being curly. They are, however, fully capable of passing the allele along to offspring, some of which will be fully curly. The two genetic mechanisms for curliness in horses are totally unrelated except that they cause a similar appearance in horses."

 

I'm at a loss as to how the presence of curly horses in the 19th century is evidence for ancient horses. Am I missing something?

Edited by jkwilliams
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10 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

A cursory Google search yields this:

I'm at a loss as to how the presence of curly horses in the 19th century is evidence for ancient horses. Am I missing something?

The idea that the Curly horse descended from Spanish horses is sloppy.  Curly horses in North America interbred with Mustangs.  But even a cursory review of the two show them to by two very different species.  The question is, then, where did the original Curlys come from?  And how were they found not just in North America, but also in Paraguay by Darwin?

In fact, Curlys are Asiatic.  So it begs the question how the Spanish got their hands on one to even bring over.

The best evidence of an ancient animal is its modern descendant.

Edited by PacMan

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7 minutes ago, PacMan said:

The idea that the Curly horse descended from Spanish horses is sloppy.  Curly horses in North America interbred with Mustangs.  But even a cursory review of the two show them to by two very different species.  The question is, then, where did the original Curlys come from?  And how were they found not just in North America, but also in Paraguay by Darwin?

In fact, Curlys are Asiatic.  So it begs the question how the Spanish got their hands on one to even bring over.

The best evidence of an ancient animal is its modern descendant.

So, the guy doing the genetic research is "sloppy," and I should ignore him in favor of the random interweb poster asserting "Game. Set. Match"? Again, it's a genetic variant, either dominant or recessive, not a "different species." 

Edited by jkwilliams
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I'd also note the following article contends that the wild horses in the US are not necessarily non-native.  The interesting prospect is that if the Spanish brought horses to the new world that shared the same markers as native horses, that would explain how science erred in concluding that all horses in the Americas were brought by the Spanish -- because, genetically, there would be little to distinguish a Spanish horse from its American cousin.

 

https://awionline.org/content/wild-horses-native-north-american-wildlife

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34 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

My understanding (based on my undergrad study and subsequent reading) is that deer were not domesticated, but rather the Maya practiced what we might call "herd management" in that they knew where they were roughly in the forest, enough so that they could kill or capture enough of them to meet their needs. There is some evidence they were sometimes caught and held in pens temporarily for ritual or other uses, but I have seen nothing suggesting they were domesticated. 

Do you know how the trading went. This remains a mystery to me. I've read several books that mention there was heavy trade in deer, but the logistics of that for an undomesticated animal still seem problematic. There's something I'm still missing.

34 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

As for beasts of burden, the assertion is being made that Mesoamericans used beasts of burden, when there is no such evidence. The assumption seems to be that, if they had horses (and some people are arguing these were actual equine animals, not deer), they would have taken advantage of their capability for riding and for transporting goods as beasts of burden. It's the same assumption that says the Nephites would have taken advantage of their knowledge of smelting (though, obviously, that's less of an assumption, as the text says they did). 

Right. And I don't understand that assumption since there's zero evidence in the text that animals were used as beasts of burden.

I agree smelting is more of an issue and remains the biggest problem tying the text to a mesoamerican setting.

7 minutes ago, PacMan said:

I'd also note the following article contends that the wild horses in the US are not necessarily non-native.  The interesting prospect is that if the Spanish brought horses to the new world that shared the same markers as native horses, that would explain how science erred in concluding that all horses in the Americas were brought by the Spanish -- because, genetically, there would be little to distinguish a Spanish horse from its American cousin.

The issue is dating. Outside of bone dates not published in peer reviewed journals, all horse bones including those in pre-columbian strata, actually date to Columbian times or the ice age or shortly thereafter. While it's possible there were small populations of horses, there's little evidence of domestication or even existence let alone being functionally beasts of burden.

Again I'm all ears if the evidence comes to light. However the strongest evidence has been mentioned in this thread and really doesn't amount to much yet.

Edited by clarkgoble

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10 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

So, the guy doing the genetic research is "sloppy," and I should ignore him in favor of the random interweb poster asserting "Game. Set. Match"? Again, it's a genetic variant, either dominant or recessive, not a "different species." 

Respectfully, I saw nothing in your posts qualifying as "genetic research."  It was a conclusory opinion.  If you look at the broad literature available, there are many, many more question marks than answers when it comes to the origins of the Curly horse.

For example, how was the Curly related to Spanish horses?  The answer is through Mustangs.  But they are two different horses.  While scientists have been able to trace the relation of Western American curly horse to Mustangs, they do not say that they come the former come from the later.  They can't, because they don't.  Again, they are two different horses.  Interbreeding does not answer the question of where the Curly comes from.  And neither does your post.

I'd also note that I have been unable to find any commentary that the Spanish brought over the Curly horse.  The Colonial Spanish Mustang is well-known, but I have found nothing supporting the Spanish introduced the Curly.

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Just now, PacMan said:

Respectfully, I saw nothing in your posts qualifying as "genetic research."  It was a conclusory opinion.  If you look at the broad literature available, there are many, many more question marks than answers when it comes to the origins of the Curly horse.

For example, how was the Curly related to Spanish horses?  The answer is through Mustangs.  But they are two different horses.  While scientists have been able to trace the relation of Western American curly horse to Mustangs, they do not say that they come the former come from the later.  They can't, because they don't.  Again, they are two different horses.  Interbreeding does not answer the question of where the Curly comes from.  And neither does your post.

So, the identification of specific dominant and recessive genes is unrelated to "genetic research"? OK, then. 

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13 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Do you know how the trading went. This remains a mystery to me. I've read several books that mention there was heavy trade in deer, but the logistics of that for an undomesticated animal still seem problematic. There's something I'm still missing.

Right. And I don't understand that assumption since there's zero evidence in the text that animals were used as beasts of burden.

I agree smelting is more of an issue and remains the biggest problem tying the text to a mesoamerican setting.

Here's an article I read a while back that you might find interesting:

http://math.unife.it/interfacolta/lm.preistoria/insegnamenti/archeozoologia-1/materiale-didattico/a-a-2013-2014/presentazioni-8-13-14-gennaio/14-gennaio/thorton-2011_jas.pdf

It suggests that most trade of deer meat, bones, and skins was derived from local sources, meaning most likely that local hunters killed deer and sold the products in local marketplaces. That said, there is evidence that at least some of the deer products (as well as peccary and tapir) were sourced "non-locally," suggesting more longer-distance trade. However, the article doesn't tell us whether the animal products were transported after slaughter (which would be more feasible for skins, bones, and teeth) or whether the animals were brought alive to the locations. 

Edited by jkwilliams

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Test.

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19 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

So, the identification of specific dominant and recessive genes is unrelated to "genetic research"? OK, then. 

It's unrelated to the conclusion of the progenitors of the American Curly.  But to the extent that it is relevant, it cuts against you.  As your article notes, the curly hair in the American Curly is a dominant gene.  It is clearly not in the American Mustang.  Consequently, these are two different animals.

But in either event, your article offers no support for the conclusion that (all?) Curly horses in the Americas come from Spanish horses.

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21 minutes ago, PacMan said:

Respectfully, I saw nothing in your posts qualifying as "genetic research."  It was a conclusory opinion.  If you look at the broad literature available, there are many, many more question marks than answers when it comes to the origins of the Curly horse.

For example, how was the Curly related to Spanish horses?  The answer is through Mustangs.  But they are two different horses.  While scientists have been able to trace the relation of Western American curly horse to Mustangs, they do not say that they come the former come from the later.  They can't, because they don't.  Again, they are two different horses.  Interbreeding does not answer the question of where the Curly comes from.  And neither does your post.

I'd also note that I have been unable to find any commentary that the Spanish brought over the Curly horse.  The Colonial Spanish Mustang is well-known, but I have found nothing supporting the Spanish introduced the Curly.

It's important to note the difference between a dominant/recessive gene and a species. 

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17 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

It suggests that most trade of deer meat, bones, and skins was derived from local sources, meaning most likely that local hunters killed deer and sold the products in local marketplaces. That said, there is evidence that at least some of the deer products (as well as peccary and tapir) were sourced "non-locally," suggesting more longer-distance trade. However, the article doesn't tell us whether the animal products were transported after slaughter (which would be more feasible for skins, bones, and teeth) or whether the animals were brought alive to the locations. 

Thanks for the link. I'll read it later today when I'm on the treadmill. The articles and books I'd read that mentioned it were talking longer trade routes and not local trading. Although even local trading seems problematic for undomesticated creatures. You raise an interesting point about skin & bones. But the articles I'd read seemed to suggest live trading. But perhaps the authors who were mentioning something in passing weren't terribly interested in the details and didn't know themselves. 

29 minutes ago, PacMan said:

I'd also note that I have been unable to find any commentary that the Spanish brought over the Curly horse.  The Colonial Spanish Mustang is well-known, but I have found nothing supporting the Spanish introduced the Curly.

I'm completely ignorant here beyond just a basic knowledge of genetics. However why couldn't the Curly have been brought over by other Europeans. The Spanish weren't the only ones here after all. Also why couldn't it have been a local mutation if it's a single gene in question?

Edited by clarkgoble

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9 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Thanks for the link. I'll read it later today when I'm on the treadmill. The articles and books I'd read that mentioned it were talking longer trade routes and not local trading. Although even local trading seems problematic for undomesticated creatures. You raise an interesting point about skin & bones. But the articles I'd read seemed to suggest live trading. But perhaps the authors who were mentioning something in passing weren't terribly interested in the details and didn't know themselves. 

Honestly, I haven't read anything opining one way or the other about how deer might have been transported for trade, either. My guess is that most authors assume the deer were killed locally (from the forests) and the products traded locally. But I don't know. 

Quote

I'm completely ignorant here beyond just a basic knowledge of genetics. However why couldn't the Curly have been brought over by other Europeans. The Spanish weren't the only ones here after all.

That would be wild speculation. 

Edited by jkwilliams

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14 minutes ago, PacMan said:

It's unrelated to the conclusion of the progenitors of the American Curly.  But to the extent that it is relevant, it cuts against you.  As your article notes, the curly hair in the American Curly is a dominant gene.  It is clearly not in the American Mustang.  Consequently, these are two different animals.

But in either event, your article offers no support for the conclusion that (all?) Curly horses in the Americas come from Spanish horses.

You would almost have to believe that the Spanish had colonies in Asia for 300 years.

 

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16 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

The question then becomes if Hebrew quickly becomes a dead language known only by priests who read the brass plates, what does "horse" being settled matter? Take say Mosiah writing almost 500 years later. How on earth does he understand the Hebrew word "horse" in say Isaiah?  (Let alone whatever the glyphs on the gold plates are)

While it's fair to critique Nephi's passing mention in 1 Ne 18 it's far from clear to me that's what matters rather than later use. If, as I think most agree, the translation isn't strict in terms of fidelity to underlying words (or is at least at best inconsistently so) we shouldn't assume much about 1 Ne 18:25

The Book of Mormon does mention the corruption of their language in the Lamanites. This seems to suggest, however, that the Nephites kept their language for the most part. although I believe it did change when the people merged with the Mulekites, whom I believe were mostly Phoenicians. I believe if horse were still around, the meaning of horse would have stayed the same. However, if as most scholars presume from the fossil record that horse were extinct, the word could become malleable to include other horse-like creatures. Nevertheless, I do believe there is strong scientific evidence that horse did survive in the Americas for several thousand years after they seem to disappear from the fossil record. If scholarly reliance on the fossil record is to be followed, it seems there should be no subsequent DNA evidence for horse in the frozen tundra of Alaska, and yet there is. This makes reliance on the fossil record for conclusive evidence of extinction somewhat dubious in my mind.

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I'd be very careful there. I don't think the evidence, as thus far presented, represents strong evidence. Getting back to the beginning of this thread, Jones stuff is pretty problematic IMO both due to where he published it and the lack of details. (And in some cases referring to dead researchers who never published their work) The one find in mesoamerica that might be dated as post-columbian is more intriguing. But again we'd need more detail and perhaps reanalysis to ensure no contamination before it really amounts to much.

Don't get me wrong, I think if there were pockets of surviving pre-Columbian horses that'd be interesting. There's still no evidence they were widespread nor domesticated. But it might explain the limited references in the Book of Mormon. So I leave it open as a possibility. But until there's harder evidence it's just a weak possibility.

The horse bone finds in the Loltun cave system in the late 70s predate the work of Jones, and were initially published in the back of a journal article, presumably because they do not fit with the current belief that horse were extinct. Two Mexican archaeologists carried out a project that included a complete survey of the complex system of subterranean cavities and also did stratigraphic excavation in areas in the Loltun complex not previously visited. The pits they excavated revealed a sequence of 16 layers, which they numbered from the surface downward. Bones of extinct animals (including mammoth) appear in the lowest layers. Pottery and other cultural materials were found in levels VII and above. Also in those same strata there were horse bones, including level II. A radiocarbon date for the beginning of VII turned out to be around 1800 BC. The pottery fragments above that would place some portions in the range of at least 900–400 BC and possibly later. The report on this work concludes with the observation that "something went on here that is still difficult to explain." Why is it "difficult to explain?" Because horse were not supposed to exist at that time. While I accept Spanish reports in Mesoamerica which show a lack of native horse, and an apparent lack of horse in the SE United States including the Mississippi, those were areas not particularly favorable to horse. Horse would have occupied grass tundra areas like those of the buffalo, and could have helped Natives hunt buffalo, like they say they always had. Further, there is no good explanation how these natives got horses like the Appaloosa. While it is possible that Spanish horses could have multiplied into vast numbers in 250 years at an annual growth rate of 17%, it is not probable that they would become Appaloosa horses in that time frame. That is improbable evolution. The Appaloosa and the Yakut are horse species found the Far East, and yet we find evidence for their existence in the NW Americas, which is simply not explained by the introduction of the horse by Spain.

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12 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

The Book of Mormon does mention the corruption of their language in the Lamanites. This seems to suggest, however, that the Nephites kept their language for the most part. although I believe it did change when the people merged with the Mulekites, whom I believe were mostly Phoenicians. I believe if horse were still around, the meaning of horse would have stayed the same. However, if as most scholars presume from the fossil record that horse were extinct, the word could become malleable to include other horse-like creatures. Nevertheless, I do believe there is strong scientific evidence that horse did survive in the Americas for several thousand years after they seem to disappear from the fossil record. If scholarly reliance on the fossil record is to be followed, it seems there should be no subsequent DNA evidence for horse in the frozen tundra of Alaska, and yet there is. This makes reliance on the fossil record for conclusive evidence of extinction somewhat dubious in my mind.

The horse bone finds in the Loltun cave system in the late 70s predate the work of Jones, and were initially published in the back of a journal article, presumably because they do not fit with the current belief that horse were extinct. Two Mexican archaeologists carried out a project that included a complete survey of the complex system of subterranean cavities and also did stratigraphic excavation in areas in the Loltun complex not previously visited. The pits they excavated revealed a sequence of 16 layers, which they numbered from the surface downward. Bones of extinct animals (including mammoth) appear in the lowest layers. Pottery and other cultural materials were found in levels VII and above. Also in those same strata there were horse bones, including level II. A radiocarbon date for the beginning of VII turned out to be around 1800 BC. The pottery fragments above that would place some portions in the range of at least 900–400 BC and possibly later. The report on this work concludes with the observation that "something went on here that is still difficult to explain." Why is it "difficult to explain?" Because horse were not supposed to exist at that time.

My understanding is that fossilized Mammoth bones and horse teeth were found in those cenotes. The "pottery and other cultural materials" date to ca. 900-400 BC, but the fossils don't, so there's nothing particularly difficult to explain. By analogy, if my son were to put a fossil of a trilobyte in my coffin when I'm buried, an archaeologist in the future should be able to date my remains and would not assume the fossil and my corpse date from the same period.

Quote

While I accept Spanish reports in Mesoamerica which show a lack of native horse, and an apparent lack of horse in the SE United States including the Mississippi, those were areas not particularly favorable to horse. Horse would have occupied grass tundra areas like those of the buffalo, and could have helped Natives hunt buffalo, like they say they always had. Further, there is no good explanation how these natives got horses like the Appaloosa. While it is possible that Spanish horses could have multiplied into vast numbers in 250 years at an annual growth rate of 17%, it is not probable that they would become Appaloosa horses in that time frame. That is improbable evolution. The Appaloosa and the Yakut are horse species found the Far East, and yet we find evidence for their existence in the NW Americas, which is simply not explained by the introduction of the horse by Spain.

Again, the Spanish had colonies in Asia for over 300 years, so it's not a mystery how those Asian breeds of horses might have been traded by the Spanish. Indeed, the Appaloosa appears in Spanish and French artwork as early as the 11th century. 

ETA: Here's some artwork from Spain circa 776 AD, showing a horse resembling an Appaloosa.

0a1d1de58f3d0e294a861673a3fe66dcf9c2216f

Edited by jkwilliams

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20 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:
Quote

 

In short, the article you cited doesn't tell us much about the use of beasts of burdens or the suitability of Mayan roads for such beasts. 

From the article:

Quote

Within the analyzed area, experts have discovered cities, pyramids, terraces, canals, walls and the network of 17 roads measuring more than 240 kilometers long by 40 meters wide – which were used for freight transport.

Your reference claiming a LIDAR study was not actually using LiDAR.

Quote

The variable used in this research was topography, specifically the slope of the terrain.  In order to conduct the analyses, two DEMs, or Dig-
ital Elevation Models were employed; the SRTM 90m DEM and the ASTERG DEM.  The SRTM, or Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, flew aboard the space shuttle Endeavour in 2000 for 11 days, acquiring radar data intended for topographic maps (USGS 2000).  Specifically, the SRTM data uses radar interferometry, which allows a comparison of two radar images taken at different angles.  These two images are then calibrated to allow calculation of the Earth’s surface.  This thesis used the DEM for global coverage, which is available at 3 arc-second resolution orapproximately 90 m resolution per pixel.  The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer Global DEM, or ASTER GDEM, was released in 2009 (USGS 2009).  The ASTER DEM uses high resolution images gained from collecting in-track stereo using nadir and near-infrared cameras.  This newer DEM gives a resolution of one arc-second, or a pixel size of approximately 30 m.

-----------------------------------

This analysis is not without some limitations. The SRTM and ASTER DEMs are free for download and available online for the public (USGS 2013), which is the reason they were chosen for the research conducted in this thesis. More recent spatial imagery, such as LiDAR, has recently been very useful in Mesoamerican archaeological projects. LiDAR applications used at the site of Caracol, Belize projects a resolution of under 1 meter, giving a much more accurate image of the landscape (Chase et al. 2012).  This application, however, is not yet widely available.

Even so, the one intersite causeway that the author included from the Mirador area was listed as from between 17 to 20 meters wide. That is plenty wide enough for horse drawn vehicles. But the LIDAR information evidently shows it to be wider.   From the many articles available the consensus is that the causeways varied in height and width base on intended useage. Note here, my point of debate is that there were intersite causways constructed that were suitable for horses or other beasts of burden, not that such animals were available. That has not been established as of yet. It ramains to be seen whether LIDAR will show wider intersite causeways at other sites. Some have already been noted but not mapped out fully because of the time and expense. LIDAR is not cheap either but it is much more cost effective than anything else. We will have to see if other intersite causeways are discovered between major population centers wide enough for horses or other beasts of burden.

I am interested in what information will be revealed by excavation of the corralls, pens, and slaughtehouses that the LIDAR found.

Glenn

 

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16 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

My understanding is that fossilized Mammoth bones and horse teeth were found in those cenotes. The "pottery and other cultural materials" date to ca. 900-400 BC, but the fossils don't, so there's nothing particularly difficult to explain. By analogy, if my son were to put a fossil of a trilobyte in my coffin when I'm buried, an archaeologist in the future should be able to date my remains and would not assume the fossil and my corpse date from the same period.

I believe you are speaking of fossilized bones in a cenote ie a water cave. I am speaking of an essentially dry cave with normal archaeological digs. The horse bones were not fossilized.

While it is conceivable that Spaniards had acquired Appaloosa from the East, their own records seem to reveal that they were not favored battle horse. The Spaniards used a battle horse with solid colors - nor is there record that they took hardly any mares in their early expeditions.

Why should I believe the horse went extinct in the Americas? This is where they evolved. The conditions in the Americas were and are favorable to them. Just like wild horses thrive here now, they would have for the last 10,000 years. But, like the Europeans brought the buffalo to near extinction, so I believe American natives did to the horse in populated areas of the Americas. Nevertheless, Natives were fairly sparse in certain areas favorable to horse which were not visited by the early Spanish.

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4 minutes ago, Glenn101 said:

From the article:

Your reference claiming a LIDAR study was not actually using LiDAR.

Even so, the one intersite causeway that the author included from the Mirador area was listed as from between 17 to 20 meters wide. That is plenty wide enough for horse drawn vehicles. But the LIDAR information evidently shows it to be wider.   From the many articles available the consensus is that the causeways varied in height and width base on intended useage. Note here, my point of debate is that there were intersite causways constructed that were suitable for horses or other beasts of burden, not that such animals were available. That has not been established as of yet. It ramains to be seen whether LIDAR will show wider intersite causeways at other sites. Some have already been noted but not mapped out fully because of the time and expense. LIDAR is not cheap either but it is much more cost effective than anything else. We will have to see if other intersite causeways are discovered between major population centers wide enough for horses or other beasts of burden.

I am interested in what information will be revealed by excavation of the corralls, pens, and slaughtehouses that the LIDAR found.

Glenn

I stand corrected. He used GIS. That said, you have cited, without context, a non-academic publication (Yucatan Times), and you interpret it to say that at Mirador, there is a sacbe 240 miles long and 40 meters wide. As far as I know, the longest known sacbe is the one between Yaxuna and Coba, which is 99 km in length at approximately 8 m (26 feet wide). As I mentioned, the widest sacbeob are short in length (intrasite) and are wide for ceremonial reasons or to accommodate large concentrations of people. My guess is that the author from Yucatan Times is in error about the dimensions of the sacbeob. Indeed, in article in the Smithsonian, Hansen has the dimensions of the Mirador-Nakbe sacbe as 20-40 m wide and 12 km in length (the Rivas article had it at 17-22 m wide):

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“See that there,” he said, pointing to a slightly raised and darker line of trees. “That’s a causeway. There’s a plastered roadbed under there 2 to 6 meters high and 20 to 40 meters wide. A sacbe it’s called—white road. It runs for about 12 kilometers from Mirador to Nakbe. It’s part of the first freeway system in the world.”

My guess is that the 240 km figure may be the total length of all or part of the El Mirador sacbe system, but again, that's just a guess. 

Mind you, sacbe width is just one of a multitude of archaeological clues that tell us Mesoamericans didn't have access to beasts of burden. A non-specific quote from a web site doesn't add much to the equation.

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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

Right. And I don't understand that assumption since there's zero evidence in the text that animals were used as beasts of burden.

There is also zero evidnce from the text of the Book of Mormon that Lehi and company used any type of beast of burden when they departed the environs of Jerusalem yet it would seem well nigh impossible for the group to have carried their provisions, etc. and their tents on their backs. Although Nephi says that his father dwelt in a tent, it stands to reason that the other members of the party would have had some type of shelters. Even a modest sized tent would be awfully difficult to carry on one's back just by itself.

image.png.a1cb2def69b5626e52d014f13600240c.png

Above is a picture of a modest sized Bedouin tent made from woven goat hairs. Don't know if Lehi's tent was of such a size or maybe a larger type where one could actually dwell in it. But I may be projecting my understanding of what "dwell in means" into Nephi's words.

image.png.8047122cb7571b99e144a98263f00197.png

The above is an example of a tent I would descibe as one that a person could dwell in, along with a wife and probably at least two daughters.

 

That is not something that Laman and Lemuel complained about either. 🙂

Glenn

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1 minute ago, RevTestament said:

I believe you are speaking of fossilized bones in a cenote ie a water cave. I am speaking of an essentially dry cave with normal archaeological digs. The horse bones were not fossilized.

Please provide a source. I'd be very interested in reading about such a discovery.

Quote

 

While it is conceivable that Spaniards had acquired Appaloosa from the East, their own records seem to reveal that they were not favored battle horse. The Spaniards used a battle horse with solid colors - nor is there record that they took hardly any mares in their early expeditions.

 

The fact remains, however, that the Spaniards had access to Appaloosa from early on (see the illustration from the 8th century, for example), so it is not inconceivable that they would have brought those horses with them. There simply is no reason to assert that Appaloosa horses must have already been there. As Clark noted, there's no solid evidence of horse bones dating to pre-Columbian times, other than pleistocene-era horses.

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Why should I believe the horse went extinct in the Americas? This is where they evolved. The conditions in the Americas were and are favorable to them. Just like wild horses thrive here now, they would have for the last 10,000 years. But, like the Europeans brought the buffalo to near extinction, so I believe American natives did to the horse in populated areas of the Americas. Nevertheless, Natives were fairly sparse in certain areas favorable to horse which were not visited by the early Spanish.

My understanding is that the ice age hit North America particularly hard, leading to horse extinction. Dr. Steven Stanley of Johns Hopkins suggests pleistocene horses became extinct due to the change in climate making it harder for them to get proper nutrition from available grasses. 

https://nature.berkeley.edu/classes/espm-186/Unit_I_(cont)_files/horse extinctions II.pdf

Anyway, the lack of horses in Mesoamerica is suggested by a host of different factors in the archaeological and environmental record. I never say never, but thus far, I have not seen any solid evidence that Mesoamericans had access to horses. 

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1 hour ago, RevTestament said:

The Book of Mormon does mention the corruption of their language in the Lamanites. This seems to suggest, however, that the Nephites kept their language for the most part. although I believe it did change when the people merged with the Mulekites, whom I believe were mostly Phoenicians

Regardless of the origins of the Mulekites they almost certainly mixed in with indigenous peoples and lost their language for the most part. While the mixing part isn't mentioned in Mosiah, it'd be expected, and the loss of language is explicit. (Omni 1:17)

For the Nephites I think Hebrew quickly dropped as a language - although when isn't clear. We really don't have information after Jacob until King Benjamin - nearly 500 years. By the time of Benjamin being taught "in all the language of his fathers" seems an odd thing. (Mosiah 1:2) Perhaps something that only the most elite were able to do.

There is Mosiah 24:4 where Lamanites are taught the language of the Nephites. But that isn't described as the language of the Jews.

21 minutes ago, Glenn101 said:

There is also zero evidnce from the text of the Book of Mormon that Lehi and company used any type of beast of burden when they departed the environs of Jerusalem yet it would seem well nigh impossible for the group to have carried their provisions, etc. and their tents on their backs. Although Nephi says that his father dwelt in a tent, it stands to reason that the other members of the party would have had some type of shelters. Even a modest sized tent would be awfully difficult to carry on one's back just by itself.

Certainly. But in the narrative of the rest of the text we have description of military tactics and strategy as well as detailed descriptions of trade an animals. Those just aren't in the small plates due to the focus on religion. Who knows what was in the 116 pages.

The one place we get some mention of use is the mention of chariots. Yet as I mentioned earlier that's odd too as it never says they were ridden. Indeed the chariots tend to get listed in the lists of animals, making one wonder exactly what it is.

1 hour ago, jkwilliams said:

That would be wild speculation. 

Perhaps, but it makes just as much sense if not more to assume some European (English, French, etc.) brought over a horse that already had the mutation than to assume the mutation occurred first here. I'll confess not being a horse person I'd never even heard of the breed. I gather there are Asian artwork that some say are Curly, suggesting it's not North American. Apparently a popular theory as to the origin is that they are Iberian. Maybe a few were brought over by the Portuguese.

 

14 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

My understanding is that the ice age hit North America particularly hard, leading to horse extinction. Dr. Steven Stanley of Johns Hopkins suggests pleistocene horses became extinct due to the change in climate making it harder for them to get proper nutrition from available grasses. 

That's probably part of it. Overhunting of most large animals for food by humans likely did the rest. Probably the only reason the Buffalo survived until the advent of the train was just because of how conducive that environment was for them. However the hunting strategy (often driving huge herds off cliffs) wasn't exactly the sort of thing that would work with large populations. 

Edited by clarkgoble
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14 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Perhaps, but it makes just as much sense if not more to assume some European (English, French, etc.) brought over a horse that already had the mutation than to assume the mutation occurred first here. I'll confess not being a horse person I'd never even heard of the breed. I gather there are Asian artwork that some say are Curly, suggesting it's not North American. Apparently a popular theory as to the origin is that they are Iberian. Maybe a few were brought over by the Portuguese.

I was being sarcastic. Totally agree with you. It makes much more sense to assume it was brought over after Columbus.

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That's probably part of it. Overhunting of most large animals for food by humans likely did the rest. Probably the only reason the Buffalo survived until the advent of the train was just because of how conducive that environment was for them. However the hunting strategy (often driving huge herds off cliffs) wasn't exactly the sort of thing that would work with large populations. 

From what I've read, the last pleistocene horses held on tenaciously in small herds, so they would have been even more susceptible to over-hunting.

The bottom line for me is that the only reason I see to believe there were horses in Mesoamerica is that the Book of Mormon says the Nephites had horses. As you've noted, the word "horse" could mean anything, so the assumption that it means an equine animal is just that, an assumption. There are certainly bigger issues with the Book of Mormon than horses, IMO.

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11 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I was being sarcastic. Totally agree with you. It makes much more sense to assume it was brought over after Columbus.

Dang - sorry. Normally I'm good about that. LOL.

11 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

From what I've read, the last pleistocene horses held on tenaciously in small herds, so they would have been even more susceptible to over-hunting.

That's what I'd read as well. So it is possible they held out longer elsewhere just to go extinct at a latter time. 

12 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

The bottom line for me is that the only reason I see to believe there were horses in Mesoamerica is that the Book of Mormon says the Nephites had horses. As you've noted, the word "horse" could mean anything, so the assumption that it means an equine animal is just that, an assumption. There are certainly bigger issues with the Book of Mormon than horses, IMO.

I agree, although horses is a popular talking point for many critics. It's something people can easily latch onto. And semantic drift is something most people - especially monolinguistic Americans - just have a hard time grasping.

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9 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Dang - sorry. Normally I'm good about that. LOL.

That's what I'd read as well. So it is possible they held out longer elsewhere just to go extinct at a latter time. 

I agree, although horses is a popular talking point for many critics. It's something people can easily latch onto. And semantic drift is something most people - especially monolinguistic Americans - just have a hard time grasping.

It's pretty low-hanging fruit. It's a lot harder to explain why Nephites and Lamanites are such a bad fit with Mesoamerica than it is to simply say "there were no horses." But some people seem to believe horses in the Book of Mormon is a good hill to die on.

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