Monday, March 26, 2012

Was Noah’s Ark Big Enough to Hold All the Animals? Part One

Hello my friends! And how are you this week? I am well and enjoying the weather as usual. All my critters are enjoying this time of year too. I love to see them all roaming around the back acre after they have been cooped up during the cold spell.

Did you ever wonder how all the animals fit on Noah's ark? Was the ark actually big enough to fit all the animals – including the dinosaurs? (Don’t forget we have already established that dinosaurs and man lived together as they were created on day six along with man). If you are new to my site, please read my previous blogs series on dinosaur vs. dragons.

Now back to Noah's ark. The question ‘did all the animals really fit on the ark’ needs to be broken into two parts”
  • What is the size (volume) of the ark,
  • And how many types of animals were on the ark.

The ark was made out of gopher wood and measured 300 by 50 by 30 cubits (Genesis 6:15), which is about 450 by 75 by 45 feet making its volume 1.52 million cubic feet.
“To put this in perspective, this is the equivalent volume of 522 standard railroad stock cars, each of which can hold 240 sheep.” That is 125,280 sheep! Now think a minute…most animals are smaller, some much smaller than a sheep. For example, mice, squirrels, rabbits, snakes, lizards, most birds species, foxes, minks, weasels, ocelots, lemurs, most monkey species and so on. These animals would require much less space.
You could estimate the sheep sized animals and smaller would occupy around 42,000 feet or 14.4 stock cars. Another 12 cars would be taken up with even smaller cages and the very large pens. This would leave room for 99 cars to use as storage and to house Noah’s family, and even have extra room for exercising areas.

Addressing the second question on how many types of animals were on the ark also helps us to understand how there was plenty of room on the vessel. First, the bible states that two of every kind was to go onto the ark (Genesis 6:19-20). So what is a animal kind? “Noah was told to take two of each "kind" of animal on board, probably represented by today's "families" or "genera" rather than species. For instance, the dog "kind" includes many species—wolf, domestic dog, dingo, coyote, etc.” But most likely there was only one original canine kind on board the ark. These animals would have had genes with tremendous variety. Their descendents were then able to adjust to different environments and environmental conditions that would lead to special adaptations, which would in turn lead to speciation. The point is, the original kind contained the genes that enabled variation.

Getting back the ark, even the largest of all creatures were young (and smaller) at one time. It is a thought that some of the very large animals came on board as babies. I personally think they were adolescents or even young adults not yet full grown. That would solve two problems – they would take up less space on the ark, and once off the ark they could survive on their own. We also know dinosaurs were on the ark as Genesis 6:19-20 makes this very clear; “…two of every kind shall come to you…” and “…of beasts after their kind…” and “…take two of the animals that are not clean, the male and female.” No were does the bible state, “except for dinosaurs(or dragons)”. So we know from scripture that dinosaurs were on the ark. Pretty cool! When looked at with this perspective, there are about 8,000 genera (including those that are extinct). Extracting from that, about 16,000 (two of every kind) individual animals would be on board. Don’t forget, none of the water (fresh or ocean) creatures needed to be on board, nor vegetation nor the insects (Genesis 7:22 states that the flood wiped out all land creatures that breathed through nostrils with the exception of those on the ark…insects do not have nostrils so most likely were not on the ark to begin with).

Another consideration is there were three levels in the ark. And even then many of the smaller cages could be stacked upon each other conserving space. Even so it would have been a daunting task to care for so many creatures.

So how did all those wild animals survive for a year on board a vessel? Tune in next week and find out!
Until then, God Bless and take care!

The revised and Expanded Answers Book, Ken Ham, et el, twentieth addition 2000, pgs. 179 – 184.

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