Book of Mormon/Anachronisms/Animals/Goats

Book of Mormon anachronisms: Goats


Miller and Roper: "Evidence of goats associated with pre-Columbian man also comes from caves in Yucatan"

Wade E. Miller and Matthew Roper: [1]

Goats are mentioned among the animals once had by the Jaredites (Ether 9:18). Later, after their arrival in the land of promise Lehi’s family encountered “the goat and the wild goat” as they traveled in the wilderness in the land southward (1 Nephi 18:25). Sometime after the death of his father Jacob, Enos wrote that the Nephites raised “flocks of herds, and flocks of all manner of cattle of every kind, and goats, and wild goats” (Enos 1:21). During Alma and Amulek’s miraculous escape from the prison in Ammonihah, their terrified persecutors are said to have fled “even as a goat fleeth with her young from two lions” (Alma 14:29). There is no indication in the text that the Lehites brought goats with them to the land of promise; however, it is possible that they may have been included among those flocks and herds brought by the Jaredites in their journey over the sea (Ether 6:4). If so, it is possible that some of those encountered later by Lehi’s people were descendants of those had by the Jaredites. They would have been a useful animal to both the Jaredites and Nephites, just as they have been for man through the ages in the Old World. Evidence of goats associated with pre-Columbian man also comes from caves in Yucatan. [2] It was not made clear whether this was a wild or a domesticated type of goat.


Miller and Roper: "In post-biblical Jewish literature some Jewish writers distinguished between wild and domestic cattle such as goats"

Wade E. Miller and Matthew Roper: [3]

Mention of the “wild goat” may at first seem peculiar. Biblical animals that could be eaten under the Law of Moses included the “goat” and the “wild goat” (Deuteronomy 14:4-5). In post-biblical Jewish literature some Jewish writers distinguished between wild and domestic cattle such as goats. Both were considered clean and could be eaten, but only the domestic variety was thought acceptable for sacrifice. [4] .... The only native wild goat in North America is the Mountain Goat, Oreamnos americanus. Its geographic range, though, currently only extends south from southwest Alaska down to the northwest United States. Even with a possible extended range for this animal during Book of Mormon time, it is extremely unlikely it got as far south as Mesoamerica. A closely related, but extinct, species is Oreamnos harringtoni. This goat did have a much more southerly distribution, extending into Mexico. While this goat might have survived much past the terminal Pleistocene along with other animals, there is not sufficient evidence yet for this.

It has already been indicated that a referenced animal in the Book of Mormon could actually be something somewhat different, but had a similar appearance. There is an animal now living in Mesoamerica that fits this description, the Red Brocket deer, Mazama americana. Unlike other deer it has but a single goat-like horn – which is really an antler that is shed and regrown annually like other cervids. [5]

Image taken from Miller and Roper, "Animals in the Book of Mormon: Challenges and Perspectives," Blog of Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture.

See FairMormon Evidence:
More evidence of goats in the Book of Mormon


Notes

  1. Wade E. Miller and Matthew Roper, "Animals in the Book of Mormon: Challenges and Perspectives," Blog of Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture (April 21, 2014)
  2. Robert T. Hatt, “Faunal and archaeological researches in Yucatan caves.” Cranbrook Institute of Science 33 (1953),29.
  3. Wade E. Miller and Matthew Roper, "Animals in the Book of Mormon: Challenges and Perspectives," Blog of Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture (April 21, 2014)
  4. Jehuda. Felilks., “Animals of the Bible and Talmud,” Encyclopaedia Judaica (1996)3:8.
  5. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, (Ibid), 299; Roper, “Deer as `Goat’ and Pre-Columbian Domesticate,” Insights: An Ancient Window 26/6 (2006), 2-3.