How many animals on Noah's Ark?
How many animals were on the Ark? I’m talking about Noah’s Ark of course. A seagoing barge 137 metres long and about 21 metres wide, the ark is the largest wooden ship on record. Some critics say that a wooden ship can’t be that big, but there are three other ships in ancient records of between 100 and 120 metres in length. Engineers have tested the seaworthiness of the ark and it came out with flying colours. Considering how little we know about the construction of the Pyramids, the Temple at Baalbek, and other megalithic monuments, we should be careful about denying the ability of Noah to build the ark as described in the Bible.
The ark had the capacity of approximately 520 railroad cars. That’s enough cubic capacity for over 120,000 sheep. Today it is estimated that there are between 5 million and 100 million species of living things on the earth. Deducting the fish and invertebrates and whales, we are left with some 20,000 species of air breathing animals that would have needed transportation on the ark.
The number, however, gets smaller, the kind of the Bible and the species of modern science are not the same. Bible believing scientists who study the kinds of the Bible call their study Baraminology. Baramin is the Hebrew word(s) for created kind, and I suppose Baraminology sounds better than kindology. It is generally believed that there may have been about 2,000 kinds at the original creation. Allowing for a degree of speciation after the fall, there may have been about 8,000 species that needed to go on the ark. John Woodmorappe in his book Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study suggests that there were 16,000 animals on the ark with an average size of a sheep.
I remember being surprised when I read that. From what few pictures I had seen drawn of the ark (and they were mostly pictures for children’s books) there were giraffes and elephants and elk, lots of big animals. What’s more there were dinosaurs on the ark, with the average size of a sheep. I’ve watched Jurassic Park, and the majority of dinosaurs there are much larger than a sheep, but it turns out that that is simply artistic license. Many dinosaurs were small, and if the large dinosaurs were represented by immature juveniles on the ark, even they were small.
Using the size of a sheep as an average, and estimating 16,000 animals, we have used up 80 railroad cars worth of space on the ark, 80 out of 520. The rest of the space is used for food and water, and living space for the 8 people. But how do 8 people care for 16,000 animals.
Those of you with birds, rodents, and reptiles as pets understand what sort of work is required to care for them. Birds need food and water and their cages cleaned once a week, come to think of it, that’s about the same for rodents and reptiles. When John Woodmorappe studied how farmers and circus workers cared for their animals, he was able to calculate that in a six-day work week (he allowed for a Sabbath), 8 people would have all the time they needed to care for all the animals, “with still half a workday to spare.”
The numbers put up by critics of Noah’s Ark tend to be inflated and based on a different assumptions than those used by Bible believers. A closer examination of those numbers shows the unnecessary inflation which is intended solely for debunking. Serious examination of Noah’s Ark has been done by Biblical literalists and Noah’s Ark has been shown to feasible through engineering studies, environmental studies, and labour studies. Believers may not need proof, but neither do we subscribe to fables. How many animals were on the Ark? All that needed to be. How were they cared for? Quite well thank you.