How Many Animals Were on the Ark?
By Craig von Buseck
CBN.com Contributing Writer
The Bible tells us that God brought the animals to the ark, two by two:
Bring a pair of every kind of animal—a male and a female—into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood. Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you to be kept alive. And be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals. So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him. (Gen. 6:19-22, NLT)
According to World Book Encyclopedia, "So far scientists have named and classified more than 1 1/2 million animals. Over half of these are types of insects and other species are discovered each year. Scientists believe there may be from 2 million to as many as 50 million kinds of animals alive today." However, the vast majority of these are capable of surviving in water and would not have needed to be brought aboard the ark.
In their book, The Genesis Flood, Doctors Morris and Whitcomb say that only 35,000 individual animals needed to go on the ark. John Woodmorappe, the author of Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study, believes that an even smaller number of animals would have been transported upon the ark. Woodmorappe explains that the word "specie" is not equivalent to the "created kinds" of the Genesis account, so as few as 2,000 animals may have been required on the ark.
ChristianAnswers.net explains that as many as 50,000 animals (including creatures that may now be extinct) could have fit on board the ark. These would not have needed to be the largest or even adult specimens.
They point out that there are really only a few very large animals, such as the dinosaur or the elephant, and these could be represented by young ones. "Assuming the average animal to be about the size of a sheep and using a railroad car for comparison, we note that the average double-deck stock car can accommodate 240 sheep. Thus, three trains hauling 69 cars each would have ample space to carry the 50,000 animals, filling only 37 percent of the ark. This would leave an additional 361 cars or enough to make 5 trains of 72 cars each to carry all of the food and baggage plus Noah's family of eight people."
We know that most animals possess the ability to sense danger and to move to a place of safety. In recent natural disasters, scientists have noticed that animals have migrated to safety, ensuring that a vast number of them survived. In the time of Noah, God had two air-breathing land animals of every kind travel to the very spot where Noah was building the ark just before the flood came. Some believe that this may have involved an intensification of animal migratory instincts.
The Genesis passage clearly states that God gathered the animals and brought them to Noah inside the ark two by two.
When everything was ready, the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the boat with all your family, for among all the people of the earth, I can see that you alone are righteous. Take with you seven pairs—male and female—of each animal I have approved for eating and for sacrifice, and take one pair of each of the others. Also take seven pairs of every kind of bird. There must be a male and a female in each pair to ensure that all life will survive on the earth after the flood. Seven days from now I will make the rains pour down on the earth. And it will rain for forty days and forty nights, until I have wiped from the earth all the living things I have created.” So Noah did everything as the Lord commanded him. Noah was 600 years old when the flood covered the earth. He went on board the boat to escape the flood—he and his wife and his sons and their wives. With them were all the various kinds of animals—those approved for eating and for sacrifice and those that were not—along with all the birds and the small animals that scurry along the ground. They entered the boat in pairs, male and female, just as God had commanded Noah. (Gen. 7:1-9)
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