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“Noah Couldn’t Fit Millions of Species into the Ark”

Paul Taylor August 29th, 2011

Have you heard this before? There is an unspoken corollary to the statement, as well. What the skeptic is really saying is “Noah couldn’t fit millions of species into the Ark, so the Bible is obviously wrong!”

Let’s do something radical. Let’s look at what the Bible actually says.

Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. (Genesis 6:20)

There are, in fact, some limiters on the quantities of animals that Noah needed to take into the Ark. First, the animals taken were “cattle” and “creeping things”. This implies domestic and wild land vertebrates. The word translated “fowls” includes birds, but also includes other flying animals, such as bats and, I suggests, pterosaurs. No invertebrates were required. Invertebrates can often survive today’s minor floods, and would have been able to withstand the Flood, for example, by being on floating rafts of vegetation. Obviously, there was no need to rescue marine vertebrates either. Some of these would have been killed, as evidenced by fossils, but enough would have survived to maintain those animal kinds.

The second thing to notice is that Noah was not ordered to rescue two of every species, but two of every kind. So Noah would not have needed to rescue two lions and two tigers, if those species had existed at the time of the Flood, which I doubt. Instead, there would have been two of the cat kind on the Ark. Maybe these were similar to the extinct sabre-toothed tiger. Other species of cat would have developed from this pair by rapid speciation after the Flood. Speciation is NOT evolution, because it involves variation of the existing gene pool, not the spontaneous generation of new genetic information.

It is estimated that, even including dinosaurs, there would have been about 8,000 kinds before the Flood. So the Ark had to rescue just over 16,000 animals. The reason why I said “just over 16,000” is because there would have been seven of each clean animal kind. Let’s add a few more animals, then, and assume there had to be 30,000, which is definitely much more than necessary. The average size of these animals would be the size of a sheep. So Noah had to fit the equivalent of 30,000 sheep on the Ark. This would have taken less than the total space on just one of the three decks. Therefore, there was plenty of room to take these animals, along with enough food, and mechanisms and systems for getting rid of waste, with plenty of space left over!1

  1. John Woodmorappe has written an entire book, analyzing the possible ways in which the Ark could have been built to rescue the animals. Woodmorappe, J. (1996), Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study, (Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research)