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Noah's ark:
Could all those animals fit?
There are lots of bogus pseudoscience calculations.
One said the ark was square another that it had 9 levels. I don't know what bibles they are reading, but that's not what the common versions I looked at say.

Another used the number of sheep in a box car as a basis, but didn't understand that there 2 levels in a small livestock transport box car so their calculations were off by a factor of 2.

My calculations below come up with an average of 1 sq ft per animal. There are a lot of small animals, mice, rats, cats, squirrels, gofers, prairie dogs, frogs, snakes, lizards, ...,
So from that perspective it is not completely unreasonable. I couldn't find any classification of animals by size.

This of course doesn't incude many other issues

In "Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study", by John Woodmorappe, 1996, he seems to be the creationists answer to Moore's 1983 book The Impossible Voyage of Noah's Ark, in which he says "The story of the great flood and the voyage of the ark, as expounded by modern creationists, contains so many incredible 'violations of the laws of nature' that it cannot possibly be accepted by any thinking person.

Woodmorappe says:
"They would fit in about 90% of the space"
Taking one pair from each genera he comes up with 7428 mammals, 4602 birds and 3724 reptiles on the ark. This totals to 15,754 animals on the ark. Amphibians and invertebrates like terrestrial snails are not on the ark.

Doctors Morris and Whitcomb in their book, The Genesis Flood, estimate that approximately 35,000 animals were placed on board the ark.

Better numbers are:
Plants: 270,000 species
Animals: > 6 Million species (including insects).
But, wait, this is not a problem. The fish can stay in the ocean (forgetting the salt water vs fresh for the moment) and insects and birds can fly/crawl around the walls of the ark.

Species of animals which take up floor space: (See taxonomy)
Mammals 5.4K  
Reptiles 6.8K
Amphibains (Frogs, toads, ...) 4.3K
sub-total 16.5 K
birds 9K (can fly around and live on mammals backs)
fish 22K (can stay in the ocean)
worms, centipedes, .. 50K (can live in dirt on the floor)
Insects > 1 M (can live on animals backs, walls etc)
Spiders, ticks, mites 75K can live on floors, walls, ...
Some creationists quote the literal translation of [Genesis 6:20] which says "every kind" of animal not "species". This creates a conundrum for them since they don't believe in evolution, how did we get all the species six thousand years later.
They also answer the dinosaur question by saying they would have saved eggs only. I'm not sure how how the creationists' treat extinctions.

The plants are probably a bigger question, but if you assume Noah just took seeds that might work. However, some insects require certain species of live plants and what about 150 days of food for the herbivores? I'm not a botanist so don't know what the technical problems would be with this. See taxonomy.

Noah's Ark [300 cubits (450 feet) long, 50 cubits (75 feet) at the beam, and 30 cubits (45 feet) high] with 3 decks would provide 34,000 sq ft of deck space [Genesis 6:14-21]

Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth.
[Leviticus 11] defines "clean animals" as the ones you may eat. "any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud."
Clean: e.g. Cattle, deer, goats, sheep, giraffe, moose, bison, caribou, ox, ...
Unclean: Pigs, rabbits, elephants, hippopotamus', rhinoceros', ...
There are other restrictions for fish and birds, but not relevant here.

That gives about 33,000 mammals, amphibians and reptiles (not counting birds because they can perch on the rafters and other animals backs)].
So, we get about 1 sq ft per animal. There are a lot of small animals, mice, rats, cats, squirrels, gofers, prairie dogs, frogs, snakes, lizards...,
So it might be doable from that perspective. I couldn't find any classification of animals by size.

There is also the question of could a 450 ft ark made of cypress be built of that period and would it have structural integrity and sea worthiness, to survive?
It took the Egyptian's nearly a millennium to increase boat lengths from 150 to 200 feet.
Most ocean going ships today are 250 - 400 m. long. The Queen Mary 2 is 345 m. The ark is 140 m.
The average wave length (distance between crests) is 100-200 m.

There are lots of bogus pseudoscience calculations. E.g.
At they compare the size of the ark to railroad stock cars and claim you can get 240 sheep on a livestock car. This assumes that it is a double deck stock car, but then their floor space comparison is wrong. A livestock car is about 10x40 ft, so the ark is the equivalent of 125 double deck cars or 250 single deck cars. The average livestock car can carry 80 180 lb. sheep up to 160 50 lb. sheep per deck (2.5 - 5 sq ft per animal), so the ark could carry 20-40,000 sheep size animals packed in like sheep for a short period of time. (see railroad car sizing)

Some say: "The affect of small inbreeding population as animals dispersed after the Flood makes it easier for mutations to take hold and will greatly accelerating substitution rates."
However most people who believe in the literal interpretation of the flood do not believe in evolution.
See archive a

Other questions:

  • How did species on other continents (penguins, polar bears, African elephants, ...) get to Noah? Transporting a giraffe requires a body sling.
    Creationists answer this with "God himself intervened by implanting in the chosen pair from each species the instinct of migration, and by this mechanism they gathered from the four corners of the world and headed for the Plains of Shinar" (Whitcomb, p. 30).
  • Salt and fresh water would be mixed; How would salt water and fresh water fish survive?
  • Where did the water come from to cover major mountain ranges? Theories like water from space and from a hydroplate 10 miles underground don't hold up to scientific scruteny.
  • Wouldn't you need more than one pair of prey for carnivores to eat.
  • How do you get rid of all the waste, since much of the ark would be below the water line.
  • What about plants? Some creationists say plants survived either upon their own "arks" of floating debris or simply by experiencing a rather thorough watering and then sprouted again as soon as the sun came out. There are a bunch of botanical problems with this theory.

Top Ten Reasons Noah’s Flood is Mythology | The Sensuous Curmudgeon
The Impossible Voyage of Noah's Ark | NCSE
The Early Earth-An Introduction to Biblical Creationism John C. Whitcomb | Amazon, 1972

last updated 17 Oct 2017