Fauna of Atlantis
The Fauna of Atlantis as described by Plato has done little to pinpoint its location and is clearly a subject for further investigation. However, pinpointing is the wrong word since Atlantis stretched from North Africa as far north as central Italy, so there is probably a wide geographical spread to the fauna noted by Plato.
In Critias he refers to ‘flocks’ (111c) implying sheep and/or goats; bees (111c), elephants (114e); horses (117b); bulls (119d). He also mentions sable clothing (120b) but these were possibly imported.
The most problematic of these is the reference to elephants, a term that could be loosely applied to a number of related species including mastodons, mammoths, the Indian, the African and dwarf elephants. The habitat of the latter diminutive creatures stretched from Siberia as far south as the equator. The remains of dwarf elephants have been found on the islands of the Mediterranean from Sardinia to Cyprus.
Pygmy elephant is the term applied to some species found today in parts of Asia and Africa. However ‘pygmy’ or ‘dwarf’ elephants could hardly be described as “largest and most voracious” of animals (Critias 115a).
However, there is general acceptance that the North African Elephant inhabited the Atlas Mountains until they became extinct in Roman times(b)(e). Atlantis sceptic, Ronald H. Fritze, an Atlantis sceptic, acknowledges[709.25] the existence of elephants in North Africa until the Romans.
The species of elephant used by Hannibal has been a source of debate for years(c). The Numidians of North Africa (202 BC–46 BC) also used local elephants in warfare (d). 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 influence (Timaeus 25a-b).
Eckart Kahlhofer believes that the elephants referred to by Plato were in fact deer, claiming that a scribal error resulted in the Greek word elaphos (deer) being transcribed as elephas (elephant).
>Hyde Clarke proposed that Plato’s ‘elephants were in fact tapirs in an effort to bolster his Hispaniola location for Atlantis. Gene Matlock ‘borrowed’ this idea to suit his Mexican Atlantis. Tapirs are only found in S.E. Asia as well as Central and South America. Apart from that, Plato described his elephants as ‘the largest and most voracious’ (Crit. 114e & 115a), which would clearly exclude tapirs or deer.<
R. Cedric Leonard has written an interesting paper(a) on the early domestication of animals and its possible connection with Atlantis.