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JACK - Has anyone identified which animals are being refered to in the Book of Mormon as Cureloms and Cumoms?

JOEL - No. Here are the relevant Jaredite scriptures"

"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 especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms." (Ether 9: 18-19)

Notice that it says the cattle, oxen, cows, sheep, swine and goats, and also many other kinds "were useful for the food of man." but all the other animals, including cureloms and cumoms "were useful unto man," not being included in the food list.

The fact that cureloms and cumons were listed along with the elephant as "more especially" useful could mean that they were used as some kind of large beasts of burden. Besides this, it is not evident from Ether's narrative what the cureloms and cumoms were. Some suppose them to have been creatures related to the elephant such as mammoth or mastodon; others think they were the alpaca or llama; native to the mountainous regions of South America. At the time of the conquest of America by the Spaniards, the Llamas were the only beasts of burden known in South America. They are still used as such, and are able to carry a load of about 150 pounds. They could have been tapirs or some other now extinct animals.

A few interesting words from Orson Pratt in the Journal of Discourses about the Jaredites reveals his opinion of what they were:

"After they had come down into this valley by the command of the Lord they collected seeds and grain of every kind, and animals of almost every description, among which, no doubt, were the elephant and the curelom and the cumom, very huge animals that existed in those days.....
Now to prepare them (boats) against these contingencies, and that they might have fresh air for the benefit of the elephants, cureloms or mammoths and many other animals, that perhaps were in them, as well as the human beings they contained, the Lord told them how to construct them." (JOD 12 Orson Pratt)

Hugh Nibley in his book, “Lehi in the Desert and the World of the Jaredites” gives the following explanation: ‘”They have plenty of iron, accarum and andanicum,’ says Marco Polo of the people of Kobian….but the fact is no one knows for sure what accarum and andanicum are. Marco knew, of course but since the things didn’t exist in Europe there was no western word for them and so all he could do was to call them by their only names. It is just so with the cureloms and cumoms of Ether 9:19. 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. They were simply breeds of those ‘many other kinds of animals which were useful for man.”‘

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