Elephants are specifically mentioned by Plato as being indigenous to Atlantis. This must have significance for anyone trying to arrive at a credible location for Atlantis. For example, supporters of the Theran Atlantis School cannot show where such large animals could have lived on the small volcanic island. There are no physical remains, no frescos and no historical references. Rodney Castleden who supports the Minoan Hypothesis admits that “no raw elephant ivory has been found (on Thera) and very little in the way of worked ivory”[225.70]. He later speaks of the importation of ivory into Crete[p.172] having bravely denounced Plato’s description (Critias 115a) of herds of elephants on Atlantis as “false”[p.136].
Similarly, Spanuth’s Heligoland location would have been climatically unsuited to elephants. Spanuth himself admits that the elephant reference “is hard to explain“. Nevertheless, Felice Vinci who champions a Northern European origin for Greek mythology is of the opinion that Plato’s elephant reference may be a lingering memory of the woolly mammoths that inhabited Arctic regions as recently as 1700 BC. In the late 17th century Olof Rudbeck, recognising the problem that Plato’s reference to elephants presented for his Swedish Atlantis, argued that Plato had been speaking figuratively when describing the large voracious animals and had in fact been referring to wolves, the Swedish word for wolf being ‘ulf’, which sounds like the beginning of ‘elephant’!!
Elephants in Western Europe were undoubtedly represented by mammoths, remains of which have been recovered from the North Sea – Doggerland and dated to around 40,000 years ago. Coincidentally, a tool made of mammoth bone, used for making rope, has also been dated to 40,000 years ago(i)(n). This discovery (s) by Nicholas Conard from the University of Tubingen was made shortly before Ashley Cowie published his interesting book on the history of rope-making. Further information on string, ropes and knots was published in March 2017(o).
Allied to the demise of the Siberian mammoths is the often repeated fib that when the remains were first discovered, their flesh was still fresh enough to eat, has recently been debunked by Jason Colavito(j). He has also unearthed the truth behind that other canard relating to a Siberian mammoth, namely that fresh buttercups were found in its mouth(j). He has now(q) traced back the earliest reference to the frozen mammoths to George Cuvier in 1822 [1586.11].
Eckart Kahlhofer, in a forthcoming book advocates a North-West European location for Atlantis, suggests that where Plato referred to elephants he really meant deer! Kahlhofer offers, as a simple explanation for this seemingly daft contention, the fact that the Greek for elephant, elephas, is very similar to the Greek elaphos which means deer. A simple transcription error by a scribe could have caused the mix-up. The elk was the largest species of deer to be found in the northern hemisphere and are still to be found in Scandinavia. The Great Irish Deer which died out around 5500 BC had an antler span of 11ft and a maximum height of 10ft.
Gene Matlock in an attempt to bolster his Mexican location for Atlantis has suggested that Plato’s elephants were in fact the long-snouted tapirs of Meso-America!(c), an idea ‘borrowed’ from Hyde Clarke
While the elephant issue should not be dealt with in isolation it does serve to illustrate the difficulties involved in analysing Plato’s text. Consider the possibility that the early date of 9600 BC for Atlantis is accepted, then the islands that are too small today to accommodate elephants may have been considerably larger and sometimes connected to each other or a mainland during the Ice Age, when sea levels were lower, and consequently capable of supporting pachyderms. In this regard, Sundaland would have been a most suitable candidate. Not only would to-day’s South China Sea’s archipelagos been a single landmass, but there would have been access to the area from the Asian mainland, home today to large numbers of elephants.
Strangely enough even the Andes, considered by some as the home of Atlantis, reveal the fact that during the last Ice Age a species of elephant called Cuvieronius lived there but became extinct around 8000 BC. These animals are to be found carved on the great Gateway of the Sun in Tiahuanaco suggesting that they were common in the region. Supporters of an Atlantis link with Tiahuanaco have highlighted this fact.
James Bailey who supports the idea of Atlantis in America believes that Plato’s mention of elephants could be a reference to the American mammoth, generally believed to have died out circa 10,000 BC, although Victor von Hagen, the American explorer, contentiously maintained that they survived as late 2000 BC. A similar idea was presented to the 2005 Atlantis Conference by American researcher, Monique Petersen.
The Schoppes, in support of their theory of Atlantis in the Black Sea region, contend(l) that Indian elephants existed there until 800 BC and support this with a reference to the Egyptian pharaoh Thutmosis III who killed 120 elephants ‘there’ around 1200 BC, which is a strange claim as Thutmosis did not venture beyond Syria and he died circa 1426 BC!
Elephas Antiquus (Palaeoloxodon), is a dwarf species whose remains have been found throughout the islands of the Mediterranean from Sardinia to Cyprus. All those found were dated 200,000 BC or earlier! In sharp contrast, Simon Davis, in an article in New Scientist (3 Jan.1985), dated Mediterranean dwarf elephants to as recent as 6000 BC(p). A number of writers, such as Roger Coghill, have tried to use the pygmy elephant as an explanation for Plato’s text (Crit. 114e & 115a) where we find that he describes the elephants as being ‘of its nature the largest and most voracious’. This is not a description of pygmy elephants.
However, Ghar Hasan or Hasan’s Cave in southeast Malta has paleolithic cave paintings that depict elephants, indicating more recent contact with the animals. Whether these represented full-sized or the pygmy variety is unclear. A small booklet by Dr. Anton Mifsud and Dr. Charles Savona-Ventura describes this cave system.
In Dossier Malta – Neanderthal  Mifsud has drawn attention to another cavern, not far away, formerly known as Ghar Dulam, now Ghar Dalam, where thousands of dwarf elephant bones were discovered. Dulam means ‘small elephant’ in Arabic. This is one of the mainstays of his ‘Atlantis in Malta’ theory. Whether these diminutive creatures justify Plato’s description that they were the “largest and most voracious” of animals (Crit.115a) is clearly debatable. For me this is not a description of pygmy elephants and so in all probability is an indication of a North African location or, as some claim, an Asian one!
The Atlanteans had control in Europe as far as Tyrrhenia and Egypt, which would have included what is now modern Tunisia, the home of the last recorded wild elephants in that region!
Readers should be aware that there is general acceptance that the North African Elephant inhabited the Atlas Mountains until they became extinct in Roman times(e)(h). In fact the New Scientist magazine of 7th February 1985(d) outlined the evidence that Tunisia had native elephants until at least the end of the Roman Empire.
In Elephant Destiny Martin Meredith records that one of the earliest references to the African elephant came from Hanno, the 5th century BC Carthaginian explorer, who related how he came across marshes at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, which “were haunted by elephants and multitudes of other grazing beasts.” Meredith also mentions that stables for as many as 300 elephants were to be found within the city of Carthage itself.
Nevertheless, the species of elephant used by Hannibal has been a source of debate for years(f). The Numidians of North Africa (202 BC–46 BC) also used local elephants in warfare(g). It would seem to me that the North African Elephant, rather than the Asian or African species, would have been more suited to the trek across the Alps. Needless to say, the Atlas Mountains were part of the Atlantean sphere of control (Timaeus 25a-b) and so may be the reason that Plato mentioned them.*It is also reported that during the reign of the Ptolemies in Egypt (323 BC-30 BC), they imported war elephants from Eritrea in East Africa(r). *
The latter half of 2010 saw a new piece of nonsense hit the blogosophere when a claim that the Atlanteans had flying machines made of elephant skins suddenly appeared and before you could say “cut and paste” it was ‘adopted’ by a variety of websites(a)(b). So Dumbo was not the first flying elephant! In fact this daft idea was just a recycling of one of Edgar Cayce’s ‘revelations’ (Reading 364-6)(m).
(a) http://www.articledashboard.com/Article/Speaking-of-Atlantis/1872335 (Offline October 2017)
Ludwik Zajdler (1905-1985) was a Polish astronomer who published Atlantyda in Warsaw in 1963. In 1966 it was translated into Russian by leading atlantologist Nicolai Zhirov. It is widely quoted on the Internet that the 3rd Polish 1972 edition had a print run of 30,000 copies, which is unbelievably spectacular. However, this report goes on to claim that this number equals the total number of all books on Atlantis published in the USA and UK during the previous twenty years, which also seems questionable.
Zajdler divided his book into three sections, Atlantis in myth, Atlantis in history and the date and cause of its destruction. The author believed that there was evidence of a collision between the Earth and Halley’s Comet in 9570 BC and that this caused a 30° alteration to the axis of the earth resulting in the sudden freezing of the Siberian mammoths.
Zhirov noted[458.378] Zajdler had identified some remarkable similarities between the ancient Egyptian and Mayan calendars, which led him to conclude that they had to have a common origin that he assumed to have been Atlantis.
Zajdler also had a fascination with sundials and timekeeping, which led to him write Dzieje zegara (The History of the Clock).
Monique Petersen is an American researcher who addressed the 2005 Atlantis Conference promoting her view that America was Atlantis. She accepts the 9600 BC date for its demise as correct and identifies the elephants referred to by Plato as the Columbian Mammoth that roamed North America at that time.
Derek S. Allan(1917-) & J. Bernard Delair(1932-) are two British scientists who authored Cataclysm: Compelling Evidence of a Catastrophic World Change, 9,500 BC, which discusses a global catastrophe that affected the planet during the 10th millennium BC. They have built upon and refined the catastrophist theories of Velikovsky. Drawing on the details of worldwide myths and recent scientific research they have developed a plausible argument for believing that the Earth was violently impacted upon by an extraterrestrial event over eleven thousand years ago. Their contention is that ejecta, of varying sizes, from a supernova in the nearby Vela constellation, entered our solar system resulting in devastation on a planetary scale. The Earth did not escape and the destruction visited on our world is the sobering subject of this book. In 1977, George Michanowsky also referred to the Vela supernova but dated it to 4000 BC and considered its effects to be more visual than physical. Neither Michanowsky nor his book were referred to by Allan & Delair.
The authors boldly challenge accepted Ice Age theory, denying that the usual evidence of glacial damage is correct, as such striations are found in areas that did not have to endure an ice age! This book will no doubt require revision, as our understanding of the past develops, but for the present it offers an insight into the incredible disasters that could have wiped out our ancestors. Delair wryly commented that evolution may not be just the survival of the fittest but also the survival of the luckiest.
Allan & Delair have used scientific evidence to indicate that 9500 BC was the approximate date for their proposed cataclysm. Commenting on the destruction of Atlantis they state that “we found Plato’s account of the loss of the legendary continent of Atlantis (the empire of Atlas) to be one recollection of the occurrence of radical worldwide topographical changes some 11,500 years ago initiated by powerful and violent celestial agents” [014.225]. The coincidence of this date with the date apparently related to Solon, has been seized upon by the more fundamentalist Atlantologists, who insist that Plato’s early date for the destruction of Atlantis is, euphemistically speaking, written in stone.
The authors range over the entire spectrum of catastrophist elements, such as the Deluge, extraterrestrial encounters, bone caves, frozen mammoths and pole shift. Inevitably, they were forced to engage in some speculation, but, if nothing else, this valuable work throws some light on a dark and terrifying period in our planet’s history.
Maurice A. Williams, who has written on a number of scientific and religious subjects has offered a very positive review(a) of Cataclysm describing it as a ‘must-read’ book. While I concur, I would urge caution.