Critics who claim that references to "elephants" in the Book of Mormon are anachronisms ignore important contradictory evidences.

  • Elephants are only mentioned once in the Book of Mormon in connection with the Jaredites who arrived in the New World between 2600 and 2100 BC. Within the Jaredite record (the Book of Ether), they are not prominent.

  • There is no mention of elephants during the later Nephite period. It appears that within a few centuries they became extinct. While there may have been large numbers in the Jaredite period, their extinction would support that overall their numbers were fewer making it more difficult to find archaeological evidence of their existence millennia later.

  • We don’t know where the Jaredites lived so it is impossible to excavate specifically to look for the bones of elephants. An infinitesimally small portion of possible geographical locations where the Jaredites may have lived have been explored by archaeologists. 

  • The bones of elephantine mammals have been found in Ecuador and elsewhere in South America some dating to 3700 years ago.

  • Evidence for the survival of the elephant can be found in Native American myths and traditions. Oral traditions have been documented for Native American groups from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico persuading some scholars that they are based upon a core memory of actual historical encounters with elephant-like species who may have survived into the region as late as 3,000 years ago.

  • The Book of Mormon describes animals as existing several thousand years ago. It is impossible to prove they did not exist. The process becomes more difficult if the translation of languages is involved because it may be impossible to accurately identify the thing reportedly absent.


See:

Book of Mormon 4 Elephants in America

Horses, chariots, and elephants in the Book of Mormon

 

Additional Resources:

Book of Mormon Anachronisms Part 1: Fauna (Animals) (PDF) by Michael Ash

Book of Mormon Anachronisms Part 2: Flora (Plants) and Textiles (PDF) by Michael Ash

Book of Mormon Anachronisms Part 3: Warfare (PDF) by Michael Ash

Book of Mormon Anachronisms Part 4: Metals and Metallurgy (PDF) by Michael Ash

Book of Mormon Anachronisms Part 5: Christianity in the pre-Christian Book of Mormon (PFD) by Michael Ash

Book of Mormon Anachronisms Part 6: Compass, Coins, and Other Miscellaneous (PDF) by Michael Ash

Horses in the Book of Mormon by Michael Ash

Steel in the Book of Mormon by William Hamblin

Armor in the Book of Mormon by William J. Hamblin

Metals of the Book of Mormon –  by Wm. Revell Phillips

Out of the Dust: Steel in Early Metallurgy –  by John L. Sorenson

Possible “Silk” and “Linen” in the Book of Mormon byJohn L. Sorenson

Prophets, Kings, and Swords: The Sword of Laban and Its Possible Pre-Laban Origin –  by Daniel N. Rolph

Swords and “Cimeters” in the Book of Mormon –  byMatthew Roper

Swords in the Book of Mormon by William J. Hamblin, A. Brent Merrill

The Bow and Arrow in the Book of Mormon by William J. Hamblin

A Scientist Looks at Book of Mormon Anachronisms,Neal Rappleye

Right on Target: Boomerang Hits and the Book of Mormon (2001 FAIR Conference) by Matthew Roper

Science and the Book of Mormon (2009 FAIR Conference) by Wade E. Miller

A Real People, Time, and Place: Contextualizing the Book of Mormon (2000 FAIR Conference) by Brant Gardner

A Social History of the Early Nephites (2001 FAIR Conference) by Brant Gardner

FAIR Issues 42: Dismissing Book of Mormon Geography Inaccuracies, Michael R. Ash, 0:07:22

FAIR Issues 55: Do Nephite Names find a “Home” in Middle East, Michael R. Ash, 0:07:54

Faith and Reason 11: Book of Mormon Politics Unlike Joseph Smith’s, Michael R. Ash, 0:08:52

Faith and Reason 19: Deseret and Bees, Michael R. Ash, 0:05:09

Faith and Reason 20: “Without a Cause”, Michael R. Ash, 0:04:35

Mormon FAIR-Cast 109: Response to criticisms of the Book of Mormon, Martin Tanner, 0:19:50

Ammon and the Mesoamerican Custom of Smiting off Arms

Barley and Wheat in the Ancient New World

Battles and The Book of Mormon

Book of Mormon 2 Why Anachronisms

Book of Mormon 3 Pre Columbian Horses

Book of Mormon 7 Brass Iron and Steel

Book of Mormon 8 Gold Plates

Book of Mormon 9 No Pre Columbian Wheels

Cattle and The Book of Mormon

Coins and The Book of Mormon

Don’t Experts Say There is No Evidence of Silk or Linen in Ancient America

Glass and The Book of Mormon

Iron Ore – Book of Mormon Evidence

Linens and The Book of Mormon

Metal and Metallurgy – The Mines of Timna – Book of Mormon Evidence

Metals and Golden Plates in Mesoamerica, Daniel Johnsons 2010 BMAF lecture

Metals and The Book of Mormon

New Evidence for Pre-Columbian Horses

pt 15, silk and archaeology in The Book of Mormon, credits

pt 2 Coins, (full-length) rebuttal of an anti-Mormon

pt 3, Metals (full-length) rebuttal of an anti-Mormon

pt 4 Grains, (full-length) rebuttal of an anti-Mormon

pt 5 Horses, (full-length) rebuttal of an anti-Mormon

Silk and The Book of Mormon

Swine and The Book of Mormon

Swords in The Book of Mormon

Wheat and Barley in The Book of Mormon