In order to have a term of comparison the total deck area of Noah’s Ark according to the book of Genesis would have been equivalent to the area of about 20 standard college basketball courts or 36 lawn tennis courts.
Let’s imagine that we could bring all the land animals and birds within the area of 36 lawn tennis courts, and that we squeeze in the same area the food required by them for a long period of time, and very importantly the drinking water necessary for all those animals. We should remember that animals and man cannot drink salt water from the sea even if it is mixed with fresh water from the rain half by half. What would the concentration of the salt be if we mixed the sea water and the drinking water? Seawater has about 35 grams of salt/kg. A kilogram of seawater is just under a litre.
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“The two most common elements in sea water, after oxygen and hydrogen, are sodium and chloride. Sodium and chloride combine to form what we know as table salt. Sea water salinity is expressed as a ratio of salt (in grams) to liter of water. In sea water there is typically close to 35 grams of dissolved salts in each liter. It is written as 35‰. The normal range of ocean salinity ranges between 33-37 grams per liter (33‰ - 37‰).”
What is the proportion between the salt in sea water and the salt in the fresh water we all usually drink? This is an important question when analysing the story of the Flood because it can contribute to the understanding of how so many animals would have been watered on Noah’s Ark. The right assumption is that Noah’s boat couldn’t have carried all animals described by the book of Genesis at the same time as the food for these animals and also the fresh water for their drinking. They couldn’t have used for drinking, for human beings or for animals, water from the sea, because the sea is about 220 times saltier than our primary fresh water resources.
Even if the rain coming during the Flood would have mixed with the sea waters, the result wouldn’t have been a drinkable compound. A careful calculation would have to take into consideration many elements such as the water currents, the level of the combination between the fresh water and the salt water, and so on. Nevertheless, even without this type of calculation it is obvious that the salinity of the compound of fresh water and salt water of the sea would have been very unhealthy and even deadly when submitted to it for a long period of time.
The Himalayan Mountains have at their peak 8,848 metres. The waters of the Flood had to have that height in order to cover Mount Everest. At the same time, the overall average of the ocean depth is 4,000 metres. The ocean water being 220 times saltier than our primary fresh water resources, I wonder if the combination of salt oceanic waters with the fresh waters from the rivers and other sources was important enough to make the water around Noah’s ark drinkable? How much more fresh water from the rain has poured on the earth in comparison with the existing waters of the oceans?
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Even if the compound contained four times more fresh water than salted water, the total wouldn’t have produced drinking water. I don’t know the definitive answer to this question and it is very difficult to reproduce the conditions which would have been specific for such a catastrophic event as the Flood.
It is also possible that after a period of strong rains a blanket of fresh water would have covered the oceans, a phenomenon similar with the situation in which a river flows into the sea. The explanation resides in the difference in density between the salted water and the fresh water. That source could have provided fresh water for a period of time for humans and animals. It still remains unsolved, the problem of the collection of the waters through the window of the ark. The ark was constructed in such a way that its top was entirely covered and the only opening was a narrow window which wouldn’t have allowed the systematic work of collecting a big quantity of water from the sea.
Even if the window had been wider than is described by the Bible, how could only eight people on the boat, beside other works, extract from the sea and transport enough water for the drinking and the cleaning of tens of thousands of animals every day? It would have been impossible particularly if all tasks had been done under the intense rain which would have brought the Flood.
Only a small quantity of fresh water could have been collected from the rain through the window of the ark. The system needed to collect water would have hindered the ventilation of the ark and the disposal of the rubbish because all of them would have used the same narrow window. The roof of the ark would have stopped the collection of the rain water through the upper surface of the ark because that boat was sealed with the exception of the window. The rain water would have been dispersed back into the ocean from the moment it would have hit the waterproof roof.
The animals needed a lot of food and drinking water and they wouldn’t have understood the lack of their provisions. They would have become agitated and very noisy if their provisions had been in short supply.
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The collection from the sea and transportation of so much water used for drinking by so many individual animals by only eight people together with the manipulation of so much food and waste, makes the stories of the Flood unbelievable.
There are other important arguments which invalidate the stories of the Flood from the book of Genesis and which render their contents totally untenable. The mixture of fresh water of the rivers existent before the Flood and the salt water from the sea could have created other problems also. The following quotation signals this problem:
“Wouldn’t freshwater rains from the sky have made the saltwater deadly to ocean marine life? And wouldn’t saltwater have proven equally toxic to all freshwater fish? If water boiled up from beneath the earth’s crust, wouldn’t water temperature changes in the delicate ecosystem have also had a deadly effect?” 
I found these to be pertinent questions and for this reason I reproduce them here. One thing is plain; the disruptions produced to all marine and river water animals would have been so important that many of them if not all would have become extinct.
There are also animals which live both on the land and in the water. Hippopotamus would be an example.
“Hippos live in sub-Saharan Africa. They can only survive in areas with abundant water, though, so they live in areas with rivers and lakes. Hippos are amphibious animals and spend up to 16 hours per day in the water, according to National Geographic. The water keeps them cool in the African heat. They spend all day in the water and then hunt for food at night.”
What living conditions could have been provided for a hippopotamus on Noah’s ark? Could Noah have built a water pool for crocodiles, alligators, hippopotami, seals and so on?
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Living conditions in which the hippopotamus was thrown into water during days and collected back during the nights wouldn’t have been possible on the ark. If we have to take seriously the book of Genesis the hippopotamus probably would have been an extinct species. The story is the same with crocodiles and alligators:
“Saltwater Crocodiles are found in south east Asia and Northern Australia. During the wet season they spend their time in fresh water swamps and rivers but during the dry season they move down stream to estuaries and can sometimes be seen in the open sea.”
How about the birds which migrate? They would have been confined in cages on the boat instead of being free. Such limitation could have been a serious danger to their reproduction and probably their survival.
The habitat for some animals is very specific and couldn’t have been reproduced on a boat. The animals need a certain space around them and locking them in narrow cages would have been a cruelty towards the animals and would have endangered their lives.
Take for example the animal habitat in a zoo. That is not a natural habitat but nevertheless offers a good space around the animals and similar conditions to those in the wild. The animals receive food according to their needs and fresh water all the time.
On Noah’s ark, animals would have been forced to live in very narrow spaces for a long period of time far from their natural habitat. Their new provisional habitat would have raised many problems. How could predators have been kept apart from their prey? For example, how could anyone stop the snakes coming close to their prey if the former wouldn’t have been kept behind special barriers? How about the predator birds? How could they be prevented from eating small animals crawling uncontrolled in their cages, and in this way the latter being extinct from the earth? In practice, such accidents couldn’t have been avoided.
The stories of the Flood see animals in an unrealistic way and they are based on the false presumption contained by the book of Genesis that they were under man’s dominion and control.
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They would have come quietly onto the boat when Noah called them. They were very submissive to humankind and peaceful among themselves. These stories aren’t the reflection of reality but they are allegories in which animals are used as personages.
The narratives of the Flood from the book of Genesis are also based on the false assumption that God had created all animals to be herbivores and only after the Flood they became carnivores, when He allowed meat consumption. This isn’t consistent with the way in which the nature works through the necessary existence of the ecosystems, and it is in contradiction with the presence of violence and corruption of animals, also accused by God before the Flood.
“11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth.” (Genesis 6; 11-13 NRSV)
The expression “all flesh” has to be understood not only as representing humankind but animals also. Violence before the Flood implies the existence of carnivorous animals which kill other animals in order to survive. If only herbivorous animals would have been on Earth, violence doesn’t make any sense.
I have debated in another chapter the problem of carnivorous animals and when they appeared on Earth but at this point the problem of eating meat by animals becomes very important. Did animals eat meat on the ark? The carnivorous animals would have required meat for their consumption.
Many carnivores usually attack man and they would have aggressed Noah’s and his family during their presence on the ark. On Noah’s ark there wouldn’t have been only domestic animals but many wild animals and the latter don’t usually respect man’s orders. In a zoo if the predator animals have to be moved from one place to another they need to be tranquilised. Tranquilisation is made with special substances which wouldn’t have been within Noah’s reach due to the insufficiency of technological means at the time.
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When entering the ark the predator animals would have needed to be led to their cages and confined there and that couldn’t have been done by Moses and his family without the use of tranquilisation.
How could Noah have conserved meat for the predators which needed to eat it for such a long period of time? Salting meat for conservation would have partially replaced the need for fresh meat for predator animals. How many animals would have been killed and consequently how much violence would the righteous Noah have committed in order to provide meat for predator animals? If we knew the exact number of predator animals inclusive of the predator dinosaurs and how much food they would have eaten every day, we could calculate the total amount of food needed for the total duration of the Flood, according to the book of Genesis. That would be a huge amount of aliment.
Before being consumed such meat had to be desalted, keeping it for a certain amount of time in water, if not so much salt would have been harmful for the animals. In that period of time there were no freezers and in that geographic area it was quite hot. Meat would have degraded quickly and would have been unsuitable for food. Moreover, a large amount of rotten meat could have generated incredible epidemic illnesses on the boat taking in consideration that all viruses and bacteria would also have been on board the ark in order to survive the Flood. The presence of viruses and bacteria plus the lack of enough fresh water and the excess of waste on board the ark would have resulted in a biological disaster.
If Noah and the ark had been real the carnivorous animals including dinosaurs would also have been on the boat and that would have created insurmountable problems.
The quantity of meat on the boat would have been very important if we consider so many carnivorous animals. For the period when the waters rose on the earth plus the time needed for the recession of waters, hundreds of tons of meat would have been needed to be on board alongside hundreds of tons of plants for the herbivorous animals and huge provisions of fresh water, which couldn’t have been dragged out from the sea waters or collected from the rain.
The explanations given for this problem by the apologists of the biblical literalism try to downplay the importance of the issue but without serious results.
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The following is such an explanation concerning the consumption of meat on the ark:
“Many carnivores, including lions and tigers, can readily manage on a vegetarian diet, and this may have happened on the Ark.”
Another explanation as aberrant as the first one is given in the continuation of the same article:
“If it was unavoidably necessary for some of the Ark’s tenants to have meat in their diet, this could have been readily accomplished using salted meat, reconstituted dried meat, or fresh meat from fodder animals carried aboard for this purpose. Tortoises are a good example of a fodder animal. Tortoises can survive up to a year and a half in captivity without water or food. In olden days, the famous Galápagos tortoise nearly went extinct due in part to its popularity as a fodder food. Thousands were taken aboard sailing ships to be kept as a source of fresh meat.”
In the book of Genesis Noah had been instructed by God as to how many animals to be taken on board and not a word about fodder animals is written. The descriptions of what animals would have been on board exclude the existence of extra live animals later used for food. If that had been a possibility, Noah would have taken live herbivores on the ark as food for carnivores and more vegetarian food for herbivores. The space of the ark was limited and taking live animals as food for carnivores for one year and ten days would have been incredibly burdensome. Being used to hunting and eating meat, lions or tigers wouldn’t have eaten straw from one day to another. There is a big difference between carnivores and herbivores in respect to their morphological structure, jaws, claws, stomach, teeth, and for this reason they eat different things.
I tried to imagine Noah and his family fishing on the boat in order to find fresh meat for the carnivorous animals. How much fish would have been needed to be caught every day?
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Probably tonnes of fresh fish every day, because they didn’t have the means to keep it for long. Drying and salting fish would have been another important task together with so many assignments, and not all animals would have been happy eating fresh or salted fish. The way in which the ark was constructed didn’t allow for fishing on the superior deck because it wasn’t an open deck but covered by a roof and sealed. The ark door also would have been shut by God.
“16 Make a roof* for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and put the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks.” (Genesis 6; 16 NRSV)
The roof of the ark had to be situated at one cubit above the whole construction which gives an opening of 18 inches all around the ark. Through that window, Noah and his family couldn’t have used fishing nets due to the narrowness of that opening. All the openings of the ark are mentioned by the book of Genesis and beside the window and the door other openings are not mentioned. The ark was constructed in such a way that Noah couldn’t have seen well what happened outside of it, and he needed to send birds in order to detect the dry land. Noah had to put his hand out of the window in order to collect the dove through it. During the hard pouring of the rain for forty days and nights, given the meteorological conditions Noah and his family wouldn’t have been able to catch fish anyway. It would have been a very heavy rain which together with the “fountains of the deep” would have raised the ark over the tops of the highest mountains.
Was the window of the ark wide enough to assure good ventilation of air necessary for the breathing of 35-50 thousand animals dwelling on three decks, and also enough light? Eighteen inches all around the boat couldn’t have given enough light and air inside the cages occupied by so many animals, given the disproportion between the size of the boat and the narrowness of the window. The boat was built on three levels and only the third or top level received light directly. The bottom and second levels of the boat were at approximately 13.5m for the former and 9m the latter, down from the window. The alleged height of the ark was 30 cubits and the window was one cubit, being much too small to supply light and ventilation.
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The ventilation of the ark occupied by so many animals being insufficient, the smell would have been unbearable.
The answer of the apologists of the book of Genesis is that God knew what He did and surely the ventilation couldn’t be other than great. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t God commanding such absurdity but human imagination which, as all through the book of Genesis, has proved unable to rise to the task of describing such a hypothetical reality. Coming from the sides it was impossible for the light to reach the bottom of the ark and many animals would have lived in darkness for a long period of time. That darkness would have had a very negative impact on the wellbeing of the animals and they would have become very noisy and frustrated.
The problem of the window of the ark has been debated over time by many scholars. Many tried to find an escape from the dilemma of its insufficiency in the translation of the word (tsohar) in Genesis 6:16 which appears only here in the Old Testament, but the proposed solutions don’t solve the problem.
It doesn’t matter if the translation of the word means a window or more windows, that opening or those openings couldn’t have assured sufficient ventilation and enough light. The deviation from the biblical text determined Eric Lyons to affirm:
“Another assumption often brought into a discussion regarding the “window” (tsohar) of 6:16 is that it was one square cubit. Although many people have imagined Noah’s ark as having one small window 18 inches high by 18 inches wide, the phrase “you shall finish it to a cubit from above” (6:16, NKJV; cf. RSV) does not give the Bible reader any clear dimensions of the opening. The text just says that Noah was to “finish it to a cubit from the top” (NASB; “upward,” ASV). The truth is, the size of the lighting apparatus mentioned in this verse is unspecified. The text seems to indicate only the distance the opening was from the top of the ark, rather than the actual size of the window.”
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This is another unsuccessful attempt to cover the inability of the biblical texts to create a credible image of a boat which helped humankind and animals to survive the Flood. The distance doesn’t refer to the section between the top of the ark and the window because there couldn’t have been anything from the top of the ark to the window if top means the higher limit. The window could have been situated in the wall or between the upper end of the wall and the roof. The window being placed between the wall and the roof, on the top of the wall, is the description of the book of Genesis.
The biblical text gives an undisputable description: “Make a roof* for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above”. What does “above” mean in this context? Above what? Of course, the expression “above” means over the walls of the ark. It cannot be clearer than that, the roof started one cubit above the top end of the four sides of the boat. Other translations express the same idea:
“Genesis 6:16 (BBE) You are to put a window in the ark, a cubit from the roof, and a door in the side of it, and you are to make it with a lower and second and third floors. (The Bible in Basic English)
Genesis 6:16 (CEB) Make a roof for the ark and complete it one foot from the top. Put a door in its side. In the hold below, make the second and third decks. (Common English Bible)
Genesis 6:16 (CSB) You are to make a roof, finishing [the sides of the ark] to within 18 inches [of the roof.] You are to put a door in the side of the ark. Make it with lower, middle, and upper [decks]. (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
Genesis 6:16 (ESV) Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. (English Standard Version)
Genesis 6:16 (GNT) Make a roof for the boat and leave a space of 18 inches between the roof and the sides. Build it with three decks and put a door in the side. (Good News Translations)
Genesis 6:16 (GW) Make a roof for the ship, and leave an 18-inch-high opening at the top. Put a door in the side of the ship. Build the ship with lower, middle, and upper decks. (GOD’S WORD Translation)
Genesis 6:16 (KJV) A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. (King James Version)
Genesis 6:16 (LXX) Thou shalt narrow the ark in making it, and in a cubit above thou shalt finish it, and the door of the ark thou shalt make on the side; with lower, second, and third stories thou shalt make it.”
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Everyone can make the following exercise of imagination. The height of the walls of the boat would have been 13.5m with an opening of 45cm on the top. Inside of the boat would have been several thousand animals living on three decks. The ventilation and light being insufficient and the opening too narrow for an efficient disposal of waste, the living conditions on the ark resulting from how the boat is described by the book of Genesis, would have made life impossible.
What kind of food was on the ark? The apologists of a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis present God as continuously changing His creation. By understanding the nature of animals in dependence of humankind’s moral conduit, those apologists are trampling on any kind of logic. This is an example of that kind of thinking:
“Creation scientists suspect that God caused meat eaters like lions and T-rexes to eat plants as they originally had when God created them, before Adam sinned and death entered the world.”
According to many interpretations of the book of Genesis God would have initially created all animals as herbivores; some of them became carnivores after humankind’s Fall and during the Flood all became herbivores again. After the Flood, some animals would have become carnivores once more. If the cause of change of the feeding habits was the human Fall why weren’t all animals affected equally? Why did an important number of animals remain herbivores? There wasn’t any justification for the situation in which only some animals started eating meat after the Fall if all animals had been affected equally by the human disobedience.
Of course, carnivorous animals and herbivores are genetically very distinct and this is the real reason for their different way of feeding, and not humankind’s Fall.
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With such an inconsistency it isn’t any wonder that so many people cannot accept the reality of the descriptions given by the book of Genesis.
How much food was on the ark? It is hard to calculate the amount of food needed by so many animals for such a long period of time. Any calculation has to take in consideration the type and size of the animals and the number of all animals existent on the ark. Without such calculation one can only approximate the amount of food needed on the ark and this approximation cannot but indicate a huge quantity.
How much food and fresh water does need an elephant a day? Elephants are large animals which obviously eat a lot of food and drink plenty of fresh water:
“Elephants are herbivores, which means they feed on plants. They eat roots, leaves, grasses, tree branches, and tree bark. They also love to eat fruit such as berries, mangoes and coconuts. By using their trunks they tear off even the strongest tree branches. They spend 15 – 16 hours a day on eating and consume 140 – 270 kg. These animals drink water by using their long trunks to suck up about 14 litres of water at a time, then pouring into their mouths. They drink up to 200 litres of water a day, but can go up to four days without water and will use their tusks to dig wells if necessary, an elephant can smell water from 5 km away.”
If an elephant needs such large amounts of food and water, how about a dinosaur? The existence of the dinosaurs on the boat is a kind of test in order to verify the veracity of the Flood story. According to the book of Genesis all animals were created after their kind on the sixth day of creation so inevitably the dinosaurs were also created on that day. There wasn’t another day for the creation of the animals so Noah also had to take the dinosaurs with him on the boat. This raises a huge problem given the size of the dinosaurs in comparison with normal humans and the amount of food and drinking water needed for a dinosaur. All kinds of dinosaurs would have been alive before the Deluge and would have been taken on board the ark. No cataclysm happening before the Flood capable of bringing the extinction of the dinosaurs is recorded by the Bible.
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How big were dinosaurs? They were huge herbivorous and carnivorous animals. The motivation advanced by the proponents of creationism for little space needed for animals on the ark is that all animals were young, half size or less, when taken on the boat. This is not a forthright explanation because even being half size or smaller, so many animals couldn’t have been contained by a single boat with the size of Noah’s ark in which the space for food and drinking water would have also been very important. At least one and a half decks from the entire ark, meaning half of the space, would have been occupied only by food and drinking water. The rest of the space, the surface of about 18 lawn tennis courts, would have been filled with the animals themselves, including dinosaurs. The ark and its dimensions are pure fantasy if we consider the size of the dinosaurs:
“The longest dinosaurs were sauropods; they were gigantic, slow-moving, tiny-headed, cow-like plant-eaters from the late Jurassic and the Cretaceous period. They had very long necks which were useful for reaching wide (and tall) swatches of vegetation. The lengthy neck was counterbalanced by a massive tail. These sauropods are the largest land animals ever discovered:
Supersaurus - 134 feet long (41 m)
Argentinosaurus - 115-130 feet long (35-40 m); 80-100 metric tons
Seismosaurus (“Earth-shaking lizard”) - 120+ feet long (37 m); +80 tons
Ultrasauros - 100+ feet long (30 m), +80 tons
Diplodocus - grew up to 90 feet long (28 m).
Brachiosaurus - about 85 feet long (26 m), 40 feet tall, and weighed 70-80 tons.”
If we compare the sizes of the dinosaurs with those of Noah’s ark we can easily discover why they couldn’t have been a possible cargo for the ark together with all animals on the earth even if they were half normal size. If Noah had taken on the Ark a pair of Supersaurus each at 41m long, a pair of Argentinosaurus each 35m long, a pair of Seismosaurus each 37m long, a pair of Ultrasauros each 30m long, a pair of Diplodocus each at 28m long, a pair of Brachiosaurus each at 26m long, a pair of Gigantosaurus carolinii each 14m long, a pair of Tyrannosaurus rex each at 12m long, a pair of Carcharodontosaurus saharicus at around 15m long, a pair of Sauroposeidon about 32m long and add all this length together, the total would be 542m.
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Their youngsters, being half of their size, placed in a line would occupy 271m. All dinosaurs would have been placed in pairs. A mature dinosaur of 41m long couldn’t have turned inside the Ark given its size.
Taking young animals on board half the size of an adult, two decks or more of Noah’s Ark would have been filled only with dinosaurs, leaving insufficient space for other animal species, and for food and drinking water. The decks would have proven to be too small. Taking only the eggs of dinosaurs, such as is advanced by some commentators, is unrealistic because they had to be hatched and the baby dinosaurs would have needed their parents after their apparition from the eggs. Probably, it was very hard to distinguish in which egg was a male dinosaur and in which egg was a female dinosaur. Noah would have needed to collect the eggs from different parts of the earth guessing what eggs belonged to each kind of dinosaur.
To all that, it has to be added that there had been two orders of dinosaurs, Saurischhians and Ornithischians, and five suborders Theoropodus, Sauropods, Ornithopods, Marginocephalia, Thyreophora (Enoplausaria). All these categories were divided into 13 infra-orders and 60 dinosaur families. This classification of dinosaurs was made taking into consideration only the skeletons and the remains which were found but who knows how many unfound remains of dinosaurs are still unearthed? The main part of Noah’s ark would have been filled only with dinosaurs and their food if the story of the Flood was a reality and not only a myth.
How about the height of the dinosaurs comparing with the height of Noah’s Ark? Ultrasauros, Brachiosaurus, and Sauroposeidon, had 26 to 30 metres in height and half this size means 13 to 15 metres. Even a third of the size of the adult animal would have been for the Sauroposeidon, 10 metres, over twice the height of a deck on Noah’s ark. Half of the height of a dinosaur, meaning a young dinosaur individually, would have been too much for the height of a deck on Noah’s ark.
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As a comparison, the Titanic was far longer than Noah’s ark, having 882 feet, 9 inches, meaning 269.1 metres. Her width in feet was 92, meaning 28 metres. and the height measured from the top of the funnels to the keel 175 feet meaning 53.3 metres. Costa Concordia, the object of another maritime disaster, was twice the size of the Titanic.
Noah’s ark would have been about 135 metres in length and the Titanic was 269.1 metres long, almost twice the size of the ark. The combined number of windows in the hull and deckhouses on the Titanic was 419. Can anyone imagine all living beings on Earth, in pairs, entering in order and being hosted by the Titanic? Titanic when full could carry 2,435 passengers, and a crew of approximately 900 brought her capacity to more than 3,300 people.
Nevertheless, Noah’s ark is said to have been the host for 35 to 50 thousand animals of which some were really gigantic. Something is definitely wrong with the stories of the Flood.
A much bigger number of animals would have lived on Earth in the past than today. Besides the dinosaurs, how many species are also extinct? According to some statistics every day an important number of animals and plants go extinct:
“According to the UN Environment Programme, the Earth is in the midst of a mass extinction of life. Scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours. This is nearly 1,000 times the “natural” or “background” rate and, say many biologists, is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65m years ago.”
A huge number of species which have lived on Earth in the past are already extinct, so we cannot judge the number of animals that Noah would have needed to take on the ark only by equating it with the number of animals living today on our planet. Here are more details about this subject:
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“Of all species that have existed on Earth, 99.9 percent are now extinct. Many of them perished in five cataclysmic events. The classical “Big Five” mass extinctions identified by Raup and Sepkoski are widely agreed upon as some of the most significant: End Ordovician, Late Devonian, End Permian, End Triassic, and End Cretaceous. According to a recent poll, seven out of ten biologists think we are currently in the throes of a sixth mass extinction. Some say it could wipe out as many as 90 percent of all species living today. Other scientists dispute such dire projections.”
Many more animal species than the ones existing today would have needed to be on Noah’s ark if the stories about the Flood were real. At the same time, the dimensions of the ark wouldn’t have allowed for such a possibility. We don’t know the exact internal structure of the ark but the height of around 13.5 metres had to be divided into 3 in order to have had 3 decks. The height of every level would have been at around 4.5 metres. How many rooms were in the ark? This is a very important question not answered by the book of Genesis. If we knew how many rooms would have been in the ark, we also would be able to understand better how many pairs of animals would have been in it, but the Bible doesn’t say.
The length and the height of every room had to be suitable for a pair of every kind of animal. To make all rooms the same size would have been a waste of space because they had to follow the measurements of the biggest animal. Some animals wouldn’t have been able to dwell in the same room because they would have harmed each other. The entire ark would have been a sort of zoo with cages for each pair of animals except some which probably could have lived together for a while, for example sheep and goats.
To adapt all rooms to the size of their occupants would have been impossible. Noah wouldn’t have taken the measurements of all animals before building the ark. How big was a cage for a pair of elephants? The animals couldn’t have been squeezed into very small places because they had to move during the trip.
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How much space was allocated for a pair of lions, for a pair of crocodiles, a pair of giraffes, a pair of camels, or a pair of dinosaurs? The book of Genesis doesn’t give us all these details and this lack of precision combined with the diversity of animal dimensions and the impossibility for Noah to know beforehand all animals’ sizes or even to be informed about all kinds of animals living on Earth, puts in question the veracity of the biblical account.
There is of course the problem of dividing animals into terrestrial and aquatic. Many animals need to live both in water and on land in a cycle specific for each of them. Therefore, many animals being on the ark would hav needed continuous access to water, but that wouldn’t have been possible, the ark being sealed during the navigation. No pool of water would have been available on Noah’s Ark.
“Labeling an animal species “terrestrial” or “aquatic” is often obscure and becomes a matter of judgment. Many animals considered terrestrial have a life-cycle that is partly dependent on being in water. Penguins, seals, and walruses sleep on land and feed in the ocean, yet they are all considered terrestrial. Many insects, e.g. mosquitos, and all terrestrial crabs, as well as other clades, have an aquatic life cycle stage: their eggs need to be laid in and to hatch in water; after hatching, there is an early aquatic form, either a nymph or larva.”
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