Plants and Animals of the Jaredites and Lehites

by Howard Wood; Devon, England

‘All manner of food for their flocks & herds’
And it came to pass that when they had prepared all manner of food, that thereby they might subsist upon the water, and also food for their flocks and herds, and whatsoever beast or animal or fowl that they should carry with them—and it came to pass that when they had done all these things they got aboard of their vessels or barges, and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God.

The above verse tells us as to the Jaredite’s migratory preparation. They not only had to prepare food for themselves, but also for their animals. We need to ask what grains, seeds, cuttings and animals did they attempt to bring in hopes of propagating, cultivating, and/or raising.

Mesopotamian diet of the Jaredites
Having an idea for what the Jaredites ate on a daily basis previous to their migration will give us an idea as what plants & animals they may have brought with them. Mesopotamian food is known from archaeology and written records on cuneiform tablets. These sources indicate the importance of barley bread, of which many kinds are named, and barley and wheat cakes, and grain and legume soups; of onions, leeks and garlic; of vegetables including chate melon, and of fruits including apple, fig and grape; of honey and cheese; of several culinary herbs; and of butter and vegetable oil. Sumerians drank beer often, wine seldom if at all; wine was better known in northern Mesopotamia and in later items. Animal foods included pork, mutton, beef, fowl including ducks and pigeons,


and many kinds of fish. Meats were salted; fruits were conserved in honey; various foods, including apples, were dried.


Israelite diet of the Lehites
Wheat and barley were the current grains and were eaten cooked or parched on a hot plate, or ground into flour by crushing the grain between two pieces of stone. The common vegetables were lentils, coarse beans, and cucumbers; squash and pumpkin, tomato and potato were as yet unknown. Flavoring was supplied by onions, leeks, and garlic. The basic fruits were figs, dates, grapes, pomegranates, and sycamore figs. Olives were used especially for their oil. Figs, raisins, and dates were dried for future use. Oranges and bananas were introduced only after the Arab conquest (7th century A.D.). The chief domesticated animals were sheep, goats, cattle and donkeys. Poultry and eggs seem to have been introduced in Palestine only after the exile. Sheep were of the fat-tail variety. The tail of these sheep often weighs more than ten pounds and its fat was considered a great delicacy, even as it is today among Arab peasants. The flesh of the sheep is still the main meat in Bible lands and their wool serves for clothing. Goat's meat was also eaten, and their hair woven into cloth which was used for tents and also for cheaper clothes. Goats' skins were used as containers for wine. The chief value of goats, was as producers of milk, of which they were the chief source. Arabs prefer goats' milk to that of cows. Fish was eaten and was plentiful along the Mediterranean and the Sea of Galilee. Phoenician merchants shipped seafood to Jerusalem markets where it was sold near the Fish Gate. Fish products from Galilee were salted and dried and sent great distances. Salt was secured in the Biblical period as now, by evaporation in beds or pans from waters along the rim of the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean. It was also mined from cliffs along the Dead Sea. Sugar was unknown but honey was extensively produced in the highland apiaries and shipped abroad. Candies made of dates, honey and nuts were so plentiful and excellent that they were exported to Tyre (Ez.

27:17). In Bible times as now, sticky sweetmeats, of which the people

are very fond, were always available in the bazaars.

‘All manner of fruit and of grain’
Jaredites: 17 Having all manner of fruit, and of grain, and of silks, and of fine linen, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious things. . . (Ether

Lehites: 21 And it came to pass that the people of Nephi did till the land, and raise all manner of grain, and of fruit, . . . (Enos 1: 21) And we began to till the ground, yea, even with all manner of seeds, with seeds of corn, and of wheat, and of barley, and with neas, and with sheum, and with seeds of all manner of fruits; and we did begin to multiply and prosper in the land. (Mosiah 9:9)

Domestication of Plants . . . In the ‘Promised Land’


By roughly 6000 BC, hunter-gatherers living in the highlands and lowlands of Mesoamerica began to develop agricultural practices with early cultivation of squash and chiles. The earliest example of maize comes from Guila Naquitz, a cave in Oaxaca, that dates to ca. 4000 BC. It should be noted, however, that earlier maize samples have been documented at the Los Ladrones cave site in Panama, ca. 5500 BC. Slightly thereafter, other crops begin to be cultivated by the semi-agrarian communities throughout Mesoamerica. Although maize is the most common domesticate, the common bean, tepary bean, scarlet runner bean, jicama, tomato and squash all become common cultivates by 3500 BC. At the same time, cotton, yucca and agave were exploited for fibers and textile materials. By 2000 BC corn is the staple crop in the region and would remain so up through modern times. The Breadnut tree was an occasional substitute for maize in producing flour.

Fruit was also important in the daily diet of Mesoamerican cultures. Some of the main ones consumed include Avocado, Papaya, Guava, Mamey, Zapote, and Anona, among others.

Wheat and Barley
There is no clear proof, as per the Book of Mormon, that neither the Jaredites nor the Lehites brought “seeds” with them. Rather, we may assume that many or most references to grains and plants in the Book of Mormon were to New World plants. It has been known for years that there are several kinds of wild barley native to the Americas. There is no reason to believe this barley was descended from Old World barley that theoretically could have been brought by Nephi's group. The Nephites could easily have been using a similar New World grain that they called barley and that Joseph Smith translated as barley.

There are a wide variety of cultivated grains from ancient Mesoamerica that could have been called "wheat" or "barley." Specifically, there are multiple varieties each of "wheatgrass," "buckwheat," and "cowwheat," and one species called "desert Indianwheat."

Sheum and neas
The Nephites refer to a grain called ‘sheum’; this is an ancient Assyrian term used at various times to refer to barley, grains generally, and even pine nuts. Use of this term in the Book of Mormon is itself significant, since Akkadian could not be read (and hence the term sheum was not known) until decades after the Book of Mormon was published. Still another crop, "neas," bears an untranslated plant name and is mentioned with corn and sheum, so it must also be of non-Nephite origin. The two names and three crops may be presumed to be of Jaredite origin and likely came down to the Nephites and Lamanites via the people of Zarahemla if not some more exotic intermediary population.


Now, "corn" is clearly maize, the native American plant that was the mainstay of the diet of many native American peoples for thousands of years. There is no possibility that Lehi's party brought this key American crop with them or that they discovered it wild upon their arrival. Maize is so totally domesticated a plant that it will not reproduce without human care. In other words, the Zeniffites or any other of Lehi's descendants could only be growing corn/maize because people already familiar with the complex of techniques for its successful cultivation had passed on the knowledge, and the seed, to the newcomers. Notice too that these passages in Mosiah indicate that corn had become the grain of preference among the Lamanites, and perhaps among the Zeniffites. That is, they had apparently integrated it into their system of taste preferences and nutrition as a primary food, for which cooks and diners in turn would have had familiar recipes, utensils, and so on. This situation reminds us of how crucial the natives of Massachusetts were in helping the Puritan settlers in the 1600s survive in the unfamiliar environment they found upon landing. The traditional American Thanksgiving cuisine of turkey, pumpkin, and corn dishes—all native to the New World—is an unconscious tribute to the gift of survival conferred by the Amerindians by sharing those local foods with the confused and hungry Europeans. Did an equivalent cultural exchange and unacknowledged thanksgiving process take place for Lehi's descendants in the Book of Mormon land of first inheritance or land of Nephi?


‘All kinds of fruit’
Though the people of Lehi were familiar grapes from the old world, there is no evidence in the Book of Mormon that they had brought grapes with them. Grapes would have to have been started by grapevine cuttings. There is evidence that native Americans harvested wild new world grapes, but did not cultivate them. Wine is mentioned in thirty two verses in the Book of Mormon. There is no indication that the wine was made with grapes or another fruit. On one occasion, Lemhi used wine to pay tribute to the Lamanite guards, and when the guards were drunk, this allowed Lemhi and his people to escape their captivity. Another similar ploy was used by Moroni to incapacitate Lamanite guards. 15 And it came to pass that he planted vineyards round about in the land; and he built wine-presses, and made awine in abundance; and therefore he became a wine-bibber, and also his people. "Wine" and the "vineyards" in King Noah's land (Mosiah 11:15) can definitely be clarified by attention to linguistic matters. Those terms seem puzzling at first glance, since wine was apparently not made from grapes in the New World. (Certain grapes were present, but we do not know that they were used for food or drink. ) However, the Book of Mormon nowhere says that "grapes" were present, only "vineyards." The Spaniards spoke of "vineyards" referring to plantings of the maguey (agave) plant from which pulque is made. And various sorts of "wine" were described by the early Europeans in Mesoamerica: one from bananas in eighteenth-century Guatemala, another from pineapples in the West Indies, palm wine from the coyol palm trunk (manufactured from Veracruz to Costa Rica), and the balche of the Mayan area, made from a fermented tree bark.

Clearly Noah the "wine"-bibber in the book of Mosiah could have been drinking something intoxicating besides the squeezings of the grape (Sorenson, John L. _An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon._ FARMS 1985, pl. 186). We assume that any wine the Lehites used was from native stock or made from another fruit.

There is no evidence that the Lehites grew olives in the new world. Olive oil was used to anoint kings & princes, to anoint the sick, and used for cooking and other uses.

We must assume that they attempted to bring the olive plant, however, you have to use a ‘cutting’ to propagate the plant (using seeds won’t work). The question is if the cuttings could have made such a journey? In addition, in the western hemisphere (all of the Americas), olives can only be grown in subtropical climate of California, Argentina, and Chile. In most likelihood, if the cuttings did survived the journey, the olive plant did not flourish because of the climate where the Lehites had landed.


Other fruit & vegetables
Native to the Americas; listed below are fruits and vegetables the Jaredites & Lehites encountered upon their arrival: The cocoa plant, vanilla, bananas, squash, pumpkin, beans, tobacco, onions, red tomatoes, green tomatoes, sweet potatoes, jicama, huautli, and maize. In addition: The aloe plant, Jerusalem artichoke, alligator pear, pineapple, arrowroot, Indian fig, prickly pear, chile pepper, star apple, strawberry, and the peanut.

Native American Food Pyramid


Plants used for clothing
And they did have silks and fine-twined linen; and they did work all manner of cloth, that they might clothe themselves from their nakedness. (Ether 10:24)

And now, because of the steadiness of the church they began to be exceedingly rich, having abundance of all things whatsoever they stood in need—an abundance of flocks and herds, and fatlings of every kind, and also abundance of grain, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious things, and abundance of silk and fine-twined linen, and all manner of good homely cloth. (Alma 1:29)

‘Silk and fine-twined linen, and all manner of good homely cloth’

Linen is defined as a cloth, often quite stiffish and hard-wearing, made of fibers from flax or hemp plants prepared by soaking and pounding. Although the flax plant was apparently not known in pre-Spanish America, several fabrics were made from vegetable fabrics that look and feel much like European linen. One was made from fibers (called henequen) of the leaf of the ixtle (maguey or agave plant), but fibers from the yucca and other plants gave similar results. Conquistador Bernal Diaz said of henequen garments that they were "like linen." Bark cloth, made by stripping bark form the fig tree and soaking and pounding it, was common in Mesoamerica and also has some of the characteristics of linen.
Dictionaries define silk as a "fine, lustrous fiber produced by the larvae of certain insects." It refers especially to the fiber form which an Asian moth, Bombyx mori, spins its cocoon, but also to cloth more generally "something silklike." Silk from cocoons gathered form the wild in Mexico and spun into expensive cloth at the time of the Spanish conquest provides the most literal parallel to Asiatic "silk." Silklike fiber (kapok) from the pod of the Ceiba (or "silkcotton") tree was gathered in Yucatan and spun; this seems to be what Landa

referred to as "silk." Father Clavigero said of this kapok that it was "as soft and delicate, and perhaps more so, than silk." Furthermore, the silky fiber of the wild pineapple plant was prized in tropical America; it yielded a fiber, "finer and perhaps more durable than agave, derived form the pita floja or ‘silk-grass' plant. Moreover, a silklike fabric was made by the Aztecs form fine rabbit hair. But even cotton cloth was sometimes woven so fine that specimens excavated at Teotihuacan and dating to the fourth century A.D. have been characterized as "of irreproachable evenness, woven . . . exceedingly fine," and "of gossamer thinness." Aztec cloths "like damask" (a figured fabric of silk, linen, or wool) were inventoried by the Spaniards. Mesoamerica evidently exhibits almost an embarrassment of riches for the "silk" and "linen" of Alma 1:29. All but the most trivializing critics should be satisfied with the parallels. There is no need to look beyond the mark to seek traces in ancient America of the flax plant or mulberry trees.


Naturally pigmented cotton and fine fabrics have been produced for nearly five millennia in Peru, constituting the oldest recorded tradition of spinning and weaving in human history. The vast array of natural cotton colors has been well documented since the time of the New World explorers. When the Spaniards crossed the Peruvian desert in 1531 they marveled at the extensive fields of cotton growing in a range of colors unlike anything they had seen before. Highly prized by the Europeans, these long stapled cotton plants of Central and South America, were

transported around the world to become the progenitors of what today are considered to be the world's premier cottons. It may have been, that the Jaredites, and later the Lehites, benefited from the native varieties of cotton already being cultivated by ‘other peoples’.


‘All manner of animals’ – domesticated & wild
Jaredites: : 18 And also all manner of cattle, of oxen, and cows, and of sheep, and of swine, and of goats, and also many other kinds of animals which were useful for the food of man.

And they also had horses, and asses, and there were elephants and cureloms and cumoms; all of which were useful unto man, and more man especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms. (Ether 9: 18, 19)

Nephites: 25 And it came to pass that we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men. And we did find all manner of men ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper. (1 Ne. 18: 25)

And it came to pass that the people of Nephi did till the land, and raise all manner of grain, and of fruit, and flocks of herds, and flocks of all manner of cattle of every kind, and goats, and wild goats, and also many horses. (Enos 1: 21)


Uses of Animals: food, labour, and clothing
Animals used as food

The following were described by both Jaredites and Nephites as sources of food: Cattle, cows, oxen, sheep, goats (and wild goats), swine, and many other kinds of animals, and wild game (animals not specifically named, but may have been brought, include: bees, sorts of fowl, guinea pigs, and dogs – yes, dogs!).

Animals used as a source of labour

The Nephites named: The horse & ass (donkey) While the Jaredites named: The elephant, cureloms, and cumoms, in addition to the horse & donkey. Typical labour for such animals included, such activities as ploughing, hauling timber & boulders, etc… In addition, they were used for transportation and warfare.

Animals used for clothing etc…

Animals such as: The goat, sheep, llamas, cow, & swine provide skins and fibers necessary for man to exist in reasonable comfort. Skins can be processed to make shoes, clothing, books (scrolls), shelter (such as tents etc…), and a variety of other uses. Fiber, such as wool & hairs, can be spun and woven to make clothing, blankets, rugs etc… .

It would appear that the ancient American peoples used most all of the common domestic animals known among civilized peoples the world over. The use of the elephant by the Jaredites is a little unusual, but let us keep in mind that this large and noble animal is still domesticated in India and some other parts of Asia.

Wild Game
The Book of Mormon does not specifically name each wild animal. The New World, however, was full with wild game and these were hunted and even somewhat "tamed." Several types of deer, while technically "wild," were kept in pens nearby the living quarters, and it was even said that Mayan women would suckle baby deer from their own breasts. Deer was probably the most commonly hunted and eaten of the wild animals. Also utilized were two types of iguana, whose eggs and flesh were eaten, the armadillo, the peccary, the tapir, and several types of monkeys.

Cattle and Cows
The term “cattle” is used three times in the Book of Mormon (Ether 9:17-19; Enos 1:21; 3 Nephi 3:22), while the term “cow” is used twice (Ether 9:18; 1 Nephi 18:25). The Jaredite record is unclear as to whether “cattle” and “cows” are the same animals, or if “cows” are a subcategory of “cattle.” When the Miami Indians, who were familiar with cows, first encountered the unfamiliar buffalo they simply called them “wild cows.” Likewise the Spanish explorer DeSoto called the buffalo “vaca,” which is Spanish for “cow.” The Delaware Indians named the cow, “deer,” and a group of Miami Indians labeled sheep, which they were unfamiliar with, “looks-like-a-cow.”

The Ox
“Ox” or “oxen” is mentioned six times in the Book of Mormon. Some people consider the “ox” only as a castrated bull — something that would be impossible to find in the wild. Ox, however, also refers to: the Asiatic buffaloes, African buffaloes, cattle, and American bison.


Some LDS scholars have suggested that the Book of Mormon “ox” and “cow” may refer to the tapir, American camels, or perhaps the American bison.


The early Americans did have native pigs. The Aztecs called them pisote, which basically means “glutton” and was often applied to the peccary or wild pig. Peccaries were well known in Mesoamerica and look very much like domesticated pigs and could easily fit the Book of Mormon designation of swine. The Nephites followed the Mosaic Law. It being a strict set of laws given to the ancient Jews, through the prophet Moses, to prepare them for the coming of the Messiah. Among other dietary restrictions, pork was not allowed to be eaten. The Jaredites, however, did not have the Mosaic Law – for they had left Babylon well before Moses was born.

Sheep, goats (and wild goats)
As to sheep and goats named in the Book of Mormon, it should only be necessary to point out that we still have the Rocky Mountain sheep and Rocky Mountain goats, both native of North America.

Rocky Mountain Goat (above) Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep (right)


The only place where elephants are mentioned in the Book of Mormon is in Ether 9:19 which was written in approximately 2500 B.C. Thus any elephants existing upon the American continents need not have survived past about 2400 B.C. While the jury is still out, there are a number of North American Indian traditions that recount legends of giant stiff-legged beasts that would never lie down, had a big head and large leaf-like ears, round footprints, forward bending knees, and had a fifth appendage coming out of its head. In addition to the legends, five elephant effigies have been found in ancient Mexico and two in Arizona. Scientists agree that mammoths and mastodons once inhabited the Americas, and an article in Scientific Monthly, entitled “Men and Elephants in America,” suggests that this family of elephants, mammoths, mastodons may have survived in the Americas until 1000 B.C. — well within the time frame demanded by the Book of Mormon. The marvelously and if the the burdens, or service in he cannot properly trained. elephant is a intelligent creature, question is of transportation, or carrying of even of military primitive warfare, be surpassed, when



Elephants Used in War
War elephants were important, although not widespread, weapons in ancient military history. Their main use was in charges, to trample the enemy and/or break their ranks. War elephants were exclusively male animals, as they are faster and more aggressive. History Elephant taming began in the Indus valley (present day Pakistan/India) around 4,000 years ago. The first species to be tamed was thus the Asian elephant, for agricultural ends. The first military application of elephants dates from around 1100 BC and is mentioned in several Sanskrit hymns. The successful military use of elephants spread across the world. The successors to Alexander's empire, the Diadochi, used hundreds of Indian elephants in their wars. A reportedly effective antielephant weapon was the pig. Pliny the Elder reported that "elephants are scared by the smallest squeal of a pig". A siege of Megara was reportedly broken when the Megarians poured oil on a herd of pigs, set them alight, and drove them towards the enemy's massed war elephants. The elephants bolted in terror from the flaming squealing pigs. The evidence seems to suggest that Indian tribes, when better equipped and organized, may have put an end to horses, mastodons, camels, and mammoths.


The Horse
After the Book of Mormon was published, archaeological discoveries were made that clearly indicate that horses were in the Americas before Columbus arrived. In the asphalt deposits of Rancho LaBrea in southern California, numerous fossil remains of horses have been found that antedate Book of Mormon times. These discoveries do prove horses were in the Americas in the time period covered by the Book of Mormon (about 2600 B.C. to A.D. 421). There is a body of evidence both from the mainland of Central America and even from rock drawings in Haiti itself tending to show that the horse may have been known to man in the Americas before the coming of the Spaniards. In addition, could the Nephites have used the term “horse” for deer or some other animal? It is not impossible considering the following examples: Figurines, for example, of the pack bearing South American alpacas — which are related to the camel — have been unearthed as far north as Costa Rica (the llamas, as far as California & Utah). An early pre-Spanish incense burner discovered in Guatemala shows a man riding on the back of a deer. A stone monument dating to 700 A.D. shows a woman riding a deer. Another similar figurine was found in central Mexico, and until recently, many people in Siberia rode on the backs of deer. In such cases the deer served as “horses.”

Cureloms and Cumoms
These animals were unknown to the Nephites, and so Moroni leaves the words untranslated, or else though known to the Nephites they are out of our experience so that our language has no name to call them by. We do not know what animals are meant by cureloms and cumoms in the Jaredite record. Some possible candidates to fill the usefulness of the

animals described above, are: Mastodons or Mammoths, Llamas & Alpacas, and the bear (its fur being extremely useful for warm clothing).

When the Spanished arrived . . .

. . . they found some domestication of animals, including duck, deer, dogs, and turkey that were raised for meat. Turkey was the first of the four animals to be domestication, occurring around 3500 BC. Dog was clearly an important supplement to the diet of ancient Mesoamericans, as dog bones are common in midden deposits throughout the region. These animals were typically eaten around the age of one. The lack of larger animals for domestication was likely the result of climate change, as certain species of horse and cattle previously living in the region had gone extinct. Additionally, and related to this fact, Mesoamerican cultures lacked pack animals to assist in transportation; this is one notable difference between Mesoamerica and the cultures of the South American Andes. Societies of this region did hunt certain wild species to complement their diet. These animals included deer, opposum, raccon, rabbit, birds and various types of insects. They also hunted in order to gain luxury items such as cat fur and bird plumage.

‘All manner of fowl’ . . . whatsoever beast or animal or fowl that they should carry with them—and it came to pass that when they had done all these things they got aboard of their vessels or barges, and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God. (Ether 6:4)

Fowl is a term for certain birds often used as food by humans. It includes some poultry such as chickens or turkeys, game birds such as

pheasants or partridges, other wildfowl like guineafowl or peafowl, and waterfowl such as ducks or geese.
Chicken The term chicken also could easily apply to the native turkeys that Mesoamericans used. Although a turkey is not a chicken, it is not surprising that people encountering turkeys for the first time might use the term "chicken" to describe them. Since it is certain that "others" passed on knowledge about and a taste for corn to the Nephites and Lamanites, it becomes likely that other cultural features also came from them. The keeping of "flocks” was not a pattern which Lehi's folks are said to have brought with them; no animals are mentioned in Nephi's Old World record (it is purely speculation that they utilized camels or any other animals in their trek from Jerusalem to Bountiful). Even if they started out with animals, these would not have survived the party's famine-plagued journey through western Arabia. Moreover, no hint is given that any were taken aboard Nephi's boat (in specific contrast to the Jaredite case— see Ether 6:4). So how would they have obtained native American fowls or other animals to keep in "flocks," or, more importantly, how would they have discovered techniques for successfully caring for them? Discovery or invention of a major cultural feature like the domestication of animals is rare enough in human history that it is highly unlikely that these newcomers could simply have pulled themselves up culturally "by their bootstraps" in this way in a generation or two.

Dogs The origin of these dogs goes far back into
history. Previously the natives ate their flesh which was highly prized. The breed was regarded as the earthly representative of the god "Xolotl", from which his name obviously originates. His task was to

accompany the souls of the dead to their eternal resting place. The breed is also known by the name "Mexican Hairless Dog".


‘Wild beasts’ not specifically mentioned in the Book of Mormon, but found in the Americas today . . .
Nephites: 25 . . . that there were beasts in the forests of every kind . . . and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men . . . (1 Ne. 18: 25)

Cats in the wild
Native American wild cats include: The Andean Mountain Cat, Cougar, Jaguar, Ocelot, and the Tiger Cat among others. The jaguar was the largest and most culturally significant of the spotted cats in Central and South America. Throughout pre-Columbian America the jaguar was worshiped and feared for its ability as a hunter. Its nocturnal prowling through the moist, lowland forests led it to be mystically associated with the night, the underworld, rain, and fertility. The hunter, the warrior, the ruler, and the priest wore jaguar skins in order to share the power of the jaguar. Mayan priests often had jaguar names and sat on symbolic jaguar seats, while warriors dressed in jaguar skins, believing that they took on some of the powers of the jaguar.

They inhabit jungle and forest regions of South America, Central America. Their closest relatives are the horses and rhinoceroses.



Also known as the “water pig”, the capybara is the largest of living rodents. In South America today, the capybaras are occasionally hunted for food and for their leather. The flesh is described as tasting like pork and has a similar whitish appearance.

Peccary Collared Peccaries look very much like a
medium-size domestic pig. Collared Peccaries are hunted by jaguars, cougars, ocelots, and sometimes by coyotes. Humans hunt the Collared Peccaries also mainly for their meat. Collared Peccaries where once prolific threw out Honduras.

Guinea Pigs
It's original home was in the savannahs of northern South America. Before the colonisation of the Americas by Europeans, the Incas had first begun to domesticate guinea pigs as both religious icons and as a source of food from around 500 BC. In many villages in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia guinea pigs are still kept today as a source of food. Fed on scraps and becoming food themselves when plump enough, as this mountainous region has little space available for the raising of cattle, as many as 7 million guinea pigs are eaten each year in Peru. However, they were not bred by the Incas only for food. In Peru guinea pigs have a hallowed place in native folklore. Legend holds that guinea pigs are mystical beings that can heal the sick and assist the dying in the journey from the world of the living to the great beyond... yet

another good reason to make sure that your domestic pets are happy and comfortable!


American Camels
The guanaco, alpaca, and the llama are three members of the Camel family that live in the Americas. The guanaco is primarily used for leather. The skin found on its neck being is extremely hard, and makes for very durable shoes.

The alpaca resembles a sheep in appearance, but is larger and has a long erect neck. Though not used for farm labour, the alpaca is valued only for their fiber (wool).

Llamas are the largest of the American camels. They are used for transportation, and their wool of great value as well. 25,000 years ago, llamas would have been a common sight in modern-day California, Texas, Utah, Missouri and Florida.


"And they did carry with them deseret, which by interpretation, is a honey bee; and thus they did carry with them swarms of bees..."
(Ether 2:3)

According to scientist, for thousands of years in the tropical Americas, Indians have raised the Apis Mellipona honey bees in special hives made out of logs, gourds, clay pots, and other simple containers. Honey from these bees has lower sugar content than honey from the introduced honeybee, but the Melipona honey is considered better tasting. There are several references to bees or honey in the Book of Mormon but all occur in the Old World. Lehi's group found honey in the Old World, and the Jaredite group carried bees with them as they traveled in the Old World. We are not told that the Jaredites brought bees into the New World. Bees are missing in the list of items placed on the ships in Ether 6:4. But no wonder: We'd be uncomfortable being locked in a closed vessel with hives of bees. With no indication of bees being brought to the New World, we have nothing to explain. When the Spanish missionaries arrived, The Spanish conqueror Cortes found honey being sold by Native Americans in their market places when he came to the New World. Cortez . . . told Emperor Charles V of the commodities sold in the great market of Tlaletolco--"There is sold," says he, "honey of bees and wax, honey from the stalks of maize, and honey from a shrub called maguey by the people. The natives make sugar of these plants, and this sugar they also sell." They found Maya farmers raising the native stingless bees, which are kept in small, hollow logs closed with mud plaster at either end and stacked up in Aframes, but wild honey was also much appreciated. Honey was a valuable export from the Yucatan.


Mayan Life
As a point of reference, the following is description of modern and past Mayan life will give us a good idea for Nephite & Lamanite culture. Many Maya communities today are probably living and farming much like their ancestors did 2,000 years ago. They usually have a communal farm for the less fortunate: widows, elderly, sickly, that everyone takes turns tending. Then each family group has a small plot. They still clear the land the way their ancestors did before they had metal tools or machines, by a method called slash and burn. Just before planting you can see (and smell) smokey fires all over the Maya region as farmers clear their land by burning and then plant in the rich ash. The problem is that after only 2 or 3 years the soil is depleted of nutrients and a plot must be left fallow for several years. Still, when you consider that the soil in the Maya region is naturally poor for farming, the slash and burn method actually was and still is a sound technology. In fact, slash and burn is perfectly acceptable when there is and abundance of land, but if the population is getting too large to be supported by the land, then leaving large areas fallow for many years would be impossible. The alternative - trying to farm depleted soil would result in famine. Some archaeologists believe that this was a factor in the collapse of the Classic Maya civilization. The Maya today (and probaly in the past) make very good use of their land in the way they plant. They plant corn (maize) beans and squash on the same plot. Corn takes nitrogen from the soil and beans replace it, so they are a good combination. Corn needs to be planted in rows in order to cross pollinate and the beans need to climb a trellis so they are trained to grow up the corn stalks. Since the young bean plants need a cooler temperature, the corn provides some shade. Meanwhile the squash plants grow along the ground (they also like some shade when just starting) filling in between the rows and by the time the corn is harvested the squash plants are ready to take over the field. When the corn is ripe, Maya farmers bend the ears over so that they dry out in the sun on the stalk and in this way they can be stored and

preserved for the months between harvests. Maize kernels are ground by the women. Traditionally this was done between a stone pallet and a long grinding stone. Corn is their primary staple and the Maya women make many meals with the cornmeal. Mixed with water it becomes a milky drink called posol which is often drunk for breakfast. Patted and toasted on a griddle it is a tortilla and can be eaten alone or wrapped around beans and sometimes meat. It can also be use as a coating on peppers to make tomalley. Peppers are another popular food with the Maya — the hotter the better. Many people don't realize that some of the foods we take for granted were unknown in the European and Asian cultures until they were discovered in the Americas. Corn, peppers, and tomatoes were all first discoverd in the Americas. In fact, Columbus was seaching for a faster route to Inida to buy black pepper. When he returned to Spain, not with peppercorns but a plant that could be used to spice the bland European dishes, they called that plant "pepper". Potatoes were also unknown in Europe prior to being brough back from Peru. My favorite food is from the Maya - chocolate. The Maya actually used the cacao bean as money — that's how valuable it was. Only the very rich could afford to take their money and make it into a delicious cup of chocolate! Meat is not often eaten by the Maya, mainly because today they are very poor and in ancient times there were few native animals that were appropriate for livestock. They would keep small, hairless dogs as pets and also to eat, as well as turkeys. Like most indigenous peoples of the Americas, the men hunted for game, such as birds, rabbits and deer. There were also monkeys and jaguars, but there is no indication that they were eaten. Maya today use bows and arrows, but there is no indication of them in their ancient art, but spears ands knives are shown. These were tipped with sharpened stone, flint or obsidian, as the ancient Maya did not forge metal. Today the machete is a tool every Maya man uses with great skill.

Today, and back in ancient times, the Maya traditionally divided roles between men and women much the same as peoples around the world. Men were hunters and women worked the milpa, prepared the food, raised the children, tended the animals and wove their clothing


Plants and animals used for medicine
Medicinal Plants
“And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land—but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate.” (Alma 46:40)
In addition to being a food source, plants and animals provide medicines used by humans to ward off disease and disability. Mankind has used herbal remedies for thousands of years. Even our modern pharmaceuticals are largely based on derivatives of plants and other organisms that heal or prepare the body’s immune system to resist disease. Take, for example, the most commonlyused medicine, aspirin, is derived from the bark of the yew tree. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the natives of Peru used an infusion of the bark of the cinchona tree to treat fever. From it comes quinine sulfate, used to lessen the symptoms of malaria. In the ancient Near East, poultices of grapes or figs were placed on wounds (2 Kings 20:7). Alcohol, fermented from various plants, is still used as a disinfectant (D&C 89:7) Microorganisms are frequently used to fight infections of other microscopic creatures. For example, dead forms of

flu and smallpox virus can be used to inoculate against the live forms that cause disease. One of the most widespread medicines used during the 20th century was penicillin, which is a living mold such as one finds on stale bread. (Egyptian history professor Aziz Atiya believed that stale bread, which was the staple diet of early Egyptian Christian hermits, was the reason they lived up to a century, with the mold fighting off diseases.) An example of an American scientist in the tropical rainforest: “. . . I was out with Pablo, on the way to making an animal trap. I had a headache, and he noticed it. Moments later he pulled two leaves off a vine growing up a tree trunk and rubbed them vigorously into my temples. He actually rubbed the skin raw enough to draw a little blood, then had me hold the leaves in place there. In minutes the headache vanished. His cure worked so well that I asked if he had others. He laughed and said he did, and began to point things out as we walked. As I later learned was typical for him, he would act out the infirmity as he discussed the treatment.” When the Spanish arrived, in Mesoemerica, there were healers who knew how to deal with fractures, treat and dress wounds, and were even able to perform certain obstetric procedures. They also knew how to treat using plants, and successfully used the active ingredient in aspirin, which at that time was already known, and extracted from willow bark. Medicine was practiced by priests who inherited their position and received extensive education. The Mayas sutured wounds with human hair, reduced fractures, and used

casts. They were skillful dental surgeons and made prostheses from jade and turquoise and filled teeth with iron pyrite.

Medicinal Animals
Bugs and parasites are making a comeback into modern medicine, and although they have been used as a means of therapy for thousands of years, they lost their popularity in the second half of the 20th century only to regain their previous status as medical wonders during the 1980s. Two such parasites used today are leeches and maggots. As gruesome as both are conceived, they have been found to possess numerous advantages in the field of medicine.

The use of leeches in medicine dates as far back as 2,500 years ago when they were used for bloodletting in ancient Egypt. All ancient civilizations practiced bloodletting including Indian and Greek civilizations. It seems very possible that the Nephites and Lamanites, (& other ancient Americans) had that same knowledge. Leeches were thought to be able to cure everything from headaches to brain congestion. They were used to cure obesity, hemorrhoids, nephritis, laryngitis, eye disorders as well as mental illness. Today, Bloodletting has become a proven medical technique particularly valuable in plastic and reconstructive surgery. Leech therapy is now being used to restore circulation to grafted tissues and reattached appendages. As many as 50 leeches may be used in succession on one patient post operatively. As they feed, they apply the perfect amount of suction to restore blood flow after delicate reattachment surgery. Medicinal leech saliva also contains many useful medical
38 Head of the giant Amazon leech. The retractable proboscis is used to pierce the skin and suck blood from the host.

compounds that have anaesthetic, vasodilator, anticoagulant and clotdissolving properties.


The beneficial effects of maggots on wounds have been observed since ancient times, with reports of their success by Maya Indians and aboriginal tribes. Observations of favourable outcomes following maggot colonisation of battle wounds have highlighted the ability of maggots to eliminate needless dead tissue whilst sparing living tissue. They also excrete substances which inhibit and may even kill bacteria. This is especially useful in areas with poor blood supply that do not benefit much from antibiotics that cannot reach the area in adequate concentration to do their job. Not all maggots can be used in medicine; only those that do not burrow under the patient’s skin and do not eat healthy tissues can be used. They do not multiply in the wound as they must leave it to pupate or they will die. When the maggots have completed their job, the doctor simply flushes them out of the wound. The maggots range from 1 to 2 mm in length when they are one day old and they reach a length of about 1 cm by their fourth day.


Frogs & Toads

The Choco Indians of Colombia recognized the toxic properties of the brightly colored little frogs hopping around the rainforest floor, using them to make poison blowdarts

for hunting.

South American Indians knew other species of frogs had healing properties in their skin secretions and rubbed the animals across cuts and wounds. That ooze seems to have antimicrobial properties that combat bacteria, fungi and parasites that might find moist skin an inviting environment.

Curare, a poison used by Amazonian Indians on arrow tips, can be used as a muscle relaxant, helping people who suffer from multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. More than 2,000 tropical rainforest plants have been identified with the potential
A possible cure for caughs ?


The Bee
Most people associate bees with honey or pollen. But another bee product—bee venom—may be valuable in treating certain illnesses. We all know about the medicinal effects of bee honey. Indeed, tea with honey has long been a remedy of choice for sore throats. And some nutritionists consider bee pollen to be a near perfect source of protein. The medicinal use of bee venom apparently dates back as far as ancient Egypt and is reported in the history of Europe and Asia. It may be that native Americans too had sufficient knowledge to use the bee medicinally. Bee venom is purported to be useful for treating the following:

chronic injuries such as bursitis and tendonitis; cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension; pulmonary conditions such as asthma; removal of scar tissue; skin conditions such as eczema; hearing loss; bone healing; premenstrual syndrome (PMS)