Animals in the Book of Mormon
Besides domestic cattle (oxen, cows), there are several types of cattle native to North America. None of these, however, entered into South America before being introduced by man. Extinct species, in addition to extant species, are among the cattle known to be associated with man. These did not all become extinct before association with man. Some extinct types may well have survived into Book of Mormon time. One or more of these could be included in the “cattle,” “oxen,” and “cows” listed in both the Jaredite and Nephite records. Early Spaniards in North America often referred to bison as “cows” or “cattle.” There are two other types of cattle besides bison native to North America. One is the woodland musk ox and the other the shrub ox. Although both these species are extinct, they might well have been living a very few thousand years ago. There are at least five different species of native North American cattle that could have been known to Book of Mormon peoples. It should be stated here that organisms which live in warm, humid conditions quickly decompose and disintegrate upon death. Therefore, the fossil record in these climatic conditions is generally poor. So, in areas like Mesoamerica, fossils of various organisms are especially incomplete.