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Could Noah's Ark hold all the animals?


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This is an interesting question, so I thought I would seek an answer.. The following of which makes interesting reading;

(Genesis 6:14)make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks"


The ark took about 120 years to build. Noah was 480 years old when he began the work and he had the help of his wife, three sons, and his son's wives. He probably hired local people to help in the construction.

The dimensions of the ark have a ratio of six to one. The Ark was six times longer than it was wide. This is the best ratio for modern ship building. Model stability tests have shown that the design is stable for waves up to 200 feet high and that the ark could have rotated 90 degrees and still righted itself.

The volume of the ark would be 450 feet long by 75 feet wide by 45 feet high. This equals 1,518,750 cubic feet and is comparable to 569 modern railroad boxcars. Therefore each boxcar, by comparison, would be 1,518,750 divided by 569, or 2,669 cubic feet of space. The average size of an animal on the earth is smaller than a cat. But, just to keep it safe let's consider the average size of an animal to be a sheep. The average double deck stock car holds 240 sheep. The Ark capacity would be about 569 x 240 equaling 136,560 animals of that size. However, that still is not accurate for our needs. Since most birds, reptiles, and amphibians are much smaller, let's double the boxcar capacity for them. Therefore, the boxcars could each hold 480 different kinds of birds, reptiles, amphibians.

Noah had to take two or seven of every kind of animal on the earth. Though it is not really known exactly what is meant by a biblical kind, it is generally considered to be animals that are fertile within their own groups. Any dog can breed with any dog, therefore, dogs are one kind. It would only be necessary to bring representatives of each kind since the parents could produce offspring that would carry the genetic information for all variations within their kind.

Classification . . . . Number of Species . . . . Number of Kinds on the Ark

Mammals . . . . . . . . .3,700 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,700 (a few live in water).

Birds . . . . . . . . . . . . 8,600 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60,200 (seven pairs according to Gen. 7:3)

Reptiles. . . . . . . . . . .6,300 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6,300

Amphibians. . . . . . . .2,500 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,500

Fishes. . . . . . . . . . . .20,600. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .zero

Other marine life . . . 192,605. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .zero

Insects . . . . . . . . . . . 850,000 . . . (Since insects are very small, and a great many could be stored in a small area, calculation would be difficult.)

Total . . . . . . . . . . . .1,072,305 . . . . . . . . . . . . .72,700

The total number of mammals would be 3,700 times two pair which equals 7,400 animals. 7,400 divided by 240 = 31 boxcars used.

Since Gen. 7:3 says to take seven pairs of every bird then the total for birds would be 8,600 times two pair times 7 or 120,400 animals. 120,400 x 480 = 250 boxcars. The reptiles and amphibians would be 6,300 plus 2,500 or 8,800. 8,800 times two pair equals 17,600 animals. 17,600 divided by 480 = 37 boxcars.

The total number of boxcars used would be 318 with a total number of animals at 145,400. There would be 251 boxcars left over. That means that only 56% of the ark would be used for storing the animals. Obviously, then, the rest of the space would be used for food for the people and animals and sleeping quarters. In addition, considering that insects are extremely small, it is easily conceivable that they could be housed in part of the remaining space.

It should also be considered that many animals can hibernate. Additionally, predators and prey have been known to live peacefully together during situations of stress like fire, flood, or earthquake. In the Ark, animal behavior probably would have been different from normal daily life. Specialists in animal behavior have noted that animals can sense danger and have often migrated to escape it. Perhaps God used their migratory instincts to get them to the Ark.

Though this is only a brief analysis, it should present enough evidence that the Ark account is certainly within the realm of possibility. :winkold:

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shouldn't have bothered waiting for the slugs. Slippery little buggers.

Stepped on one on the path from my garage earlier and did a comedy slide and cricked my neck trying to keep my takeaway curry in the carton.

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QI moment - they didn't go in pairs! isn't something like hooved animals went in sixes?

(Genesis 6:19-20) - "And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive."

Seven (Genesis 7:2-3) - "You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his female; 3also of the birds of the sky, by sevens, male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth."

Genesis 6:19-20 simply instructs Noah to preserve two of every kind. Genesis 7:2-3 is additional information where seven of the clean animals were to be taken and two of every other kind. The reason for this is that the extra animals were for sacrifice. "Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar," (Gen. 8:20).

Logically, to have seven pairs also means that there are two pairs, since the two are included in the seven. If one verse said take only one pair and another verse said seven pairs, that would be a contradiction.

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Maybe Noah could have, but certainly (and with the limited materials) I don't think Houllier could have built an ark. Chequebook clinker if ever there was one.


That's right steaknchips.

See how you like it. :P

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The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high

I see you've fallen into the trap of using Hebrew cubits for your conversions , where any true VT off Topic'er knows that Moses wrote Genesis and being Egyptian he would have been using Egyptian cubits which were longer , thus making the Ark 516ft long ,86 feet wide & 51 feet high:winkold:

And no ship of the size of Noah’s Ark was built until the late 19th century when iron was used for construction material.. so no it probably wasn't within the realms of possibility !!

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The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high

no ship of the size of Noah’s Ark was built until the late 19th century when iron was used for construction material.. so no it probably wasn't within the realms of possibility !!

This is the answer from a structural engineer;

The very task for which the Ark was to be used for is one of the main strong points (so to speak) for how the Ark could be constructed. Let's take say 3 stories worth of what would essentially be pens. Or for my purposes "Boxes". I have helped to design factories in this manner, so I know what I'm talking about. The Ark, if I was going to build it, would just be a bunch of boxes "pegged" together, until it formed one huge box with incredible strength. All that would be needed would be some "cross members" to take care of the twist (deflection) and this thing would be more than capable of doing the job.

Two or three men at a time could easily handle the small individual "boxes," so there would be no need for special equipment that we think they may have needed. I've always wondered how they could have made the Pyramids, but I must admit, the Ark never seemed like that big a deal to make.

This is the answer from a research physicist;

As far as gopher wood is concerned: One Hebrew scholar in Israel commented to a friend of mine that gophering was a process, not a specific wood. The process was lamination. Indeed, in the Concise Oxford Dictionary 1954 edition under the word "gofer, gaufre, goffer, gopher, and gauffer see also wafer" it speaks of a number of similar things ranging from wafers as in biscuit making (layers of biscuit) or in a honeycomb pattern, to layers of lace in dressmaking, and hence goffering irons to iron the layers of lace.

The pitch or glue used to cement the layers of wood in the lamination was well-known even as late as the Roman Era in Britain. They used elm bark and its sap to form a glue that was so tenacious that wood, pottery etc would break on either side of the joint where the glue was, rather than at the glued portion itself.

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with respect there is a big difference between building a factory and building a ship ..

the structural stress caused by the effects of wave action upon wooden vessels suggest that the vessel would break apart under heavy sea conditions due to forces acting upon it

and as I already pointed out there is no evidence that any ship that large was ever built until the use of iron

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Finding evidence of Noah's Ark would be difficult..As far as physical evidence goes for the flooding, there are numerous sedimentary deposits world-wide which suggest a universal flood. There are countless fossil deposits world-wide (fossilization occurs when organisms are buried rapidly within sediment.). Every major culture has a flood legend.

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Maybe Noah could have, but certainly (and with the limited materials) I don't think Houllier could have built an ark. Chequebook clinker if ever there was one.

Im sure Houllier with his knowledge of the world would have found some cheap but quality materials in some rundown french stores in the middle of nowhere instead of paying over the top rip-off prices in England

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there are numerous sedimentary deposits world-wide which suggest a universal flood.

name one please

There are countless fossil deposits world-wide (fossilization occurs when organisms are buried rapidly within sediment.). Every major culture has a flood legend.

Fossilisation take's 10,000 years minimum, name me one of these countless deposits please I'd be greatly interested

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Ive found a bit of substance which would give evidence the Ark and Noah existed, although it may be a bit long winded..

In Mathew 24; Jesus said.

37 “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah."

38 “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark.

Which is obviously written in the New Testament..So then comes the task of how reliable are the teachings from Jesus in the New Testament?

I then came across this;

The New Testament is constantly under attack and its reliability and accuracy are often contested by critics. But, if the critics want to disregard the New Testament, then they must also disregard other ancient writings by Plato, Aristotle, and Homer. This is because the New Testament documents are better-preserved and more numerous than any other ancient writings. Because they are so numerous, they can be cross checked for accuracy... and they are very consistent.

There are presently 5,686 Greek manuscripts in existence today for the New Testament. If we were to compare the number of New Testament manuscripts to other ancient writings, we find that the New Testament manuscripts far outweigh the others in quantity.

There are thousands more New Testament Greek manuscripts than any other ancient writing. The internal consistency of the New Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure. That is an amazing accuracy. In addition there are over 19,000 copies in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages. The total supporting New Testament manuscript base is over 24,000.

Almost all biblical scholars agree that the New Testament documents were all written before the close of the First Century. If Jesus was crucified in 30 A.D., then that means that the entire New Testament was completed within 70 years. This is important because it means there were plenty of people around when the New Testament documents were penned who could have contested the writings. In other words, those who wrote the documents knew that if they were inaccurate, plenty of people would have pointed it out. But, we have absolutely no ancient documents contemporary with the First Century that contest the New Testament texts.

Furthermore, another important aspect of this discussion is the fact that we have a fragment of the gospel of John that dates back to around 29 years from the original writing (John Rylands Papyri 125 A.D.). This is extremely close to the original writing date. This is simply unheard of in any other ancient writing and it demonstrates that the Gospel of John is a First Century document.

If the critics of the Bible dismiss the New Testament as reliable information, then they must also dismiss the reliability of the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, Homer, and the other authors.. On the other hand, if the critics acknowledge the historicity and writings of those other individuals, then they must also retain the historicity and writings of the New Testament authors; after all, the evidence for the New Testament's reliability is far greater than the others. The Christian has substantially superior criteria for affirming the New Testament documents than he does for any other ancient writing. It is good evidence on which to base the trust in the reliability of the New Testament.

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I suspect that the Noah's flood legend has some basis in historical fact but was most likely a catastrophic regional flood that was later enhanced with some literary licence to include stuff about saving mankind and all the animals while the rest of the naughty people drownded. Whatever the scale, there must have been a heck of a lot of incest going on, animal and human, to get the earth re-stocked...

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What a peculiar topic to find on VT with so many Atheists stalking the spot!

Just a few interesting bits about the Ark I've researched.....

The ark (Heb., te‧vah′; Gr., ki‧bo‧tos′) was a rectangular chestlike vessel presumably having square corners and a flat bottom. It needed no rounded bottom or sharp bow to cut rapidly through the water; it required no steering; its only functions were to be watertight and to stay afloat. A vessel so shaped is very stable, cannot be easily capsized, and contains about one third more storage space than ships of conventional design. There was a door provided in the side of the ark for loading and unloading the cargo.

In size the ark was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. Conservatively calculating the cubit as 44.5 cm (17.5 in.) (some think the ancient cubit was nearer 56 or 61 cm), the ark measured 133.5 m by 22.3 m by 13.4 m (437 ft 6 in. × 72 ft 11 in. × 43 ft 9 in.), less than half the length of the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 2. This proportion of length to width (6 to 1) is used by modern naval architects. This gave the ark approximately 40,000 cu m (1,400,000 cu ft) in gross volume. It is estimated that such a vessel would have a displacement nearly equal to that of the mighty 269-m (883 ft) Titanic of this 20th century. No cargo vessel of ancient times even slightly resembled the ark in its colossal size. Internally strengthened by adding two floors, the three decks thus provided gave a total of about 8,900 sq m (96,000 sq ft) of space.

The Bible actually doesn't say the Ark was built of Cypress wood Genesis 6:14-15 says. "Make for yourself an ark out of wood of a resinous tree. You will make compartments in the ark, and you must cover it inside and outside with tar" Traditon states that this was Cypress which grew abundantly in the Middle East and was particularly favored for shipbuilding by the Phoenicians and by Alexander the Great, as it is even down to the present time; and it is especially resistant to water and decay. Doors and posts made of cypress are reported to have lasted 1,100 years. What is interesting though is that the literal translation of "resinous" is Gopher which isn't an actual variety of tree - and some archeologists think that "gopher wood" is actually referring to laminated wood, which of course would have made the Ark even stronger, particularly if it had been coated with bitumen.

I would be very surprised if there was much left of the Ark these days simply because survivors perhaps would have surely used the timber for construction elsewhere. What is fascninating to find though is that in Turkey in the mountain range of Aarat near the border of Iran is actually a monument to the Ark, which is still there, where ancient tourists used to climb to view the remains of the Ark. What's more the village & place names surrounding this area have a connection to the Ark, which is normally a good indication of historical significance. eg the Turkish word for one village literally translates as "Place where the Oars slowed down". There is a rock like Ark structure that some say is petrified wood, but whether that is the Ark I have no idea. It is not on Mount Aarat but then again the Bible said that the Ark came to rest on the mountains of Aarat, which is actually a range of mountains, so this would fit in.

As for the question about whether the Ark could have been "fit for purpose"

The “kinds” of animals selected had reference to the clear-cut and unalterable boundaries or limits set by the Creator, within which boundaries creatures are capable of breeding “according to their kinds.” It has been estimated by some that the hundreds of thousands of species of animals today could be reduced to a comparatively few family “kinds”—the horse kind and the cow kind, to mention but two. The breeding boundaries according to “kind” established by God were not and could not be crossed. With this in mind some investigators have said that, had there been as few as 43 “kinds” of mammals, 74 “kinds” of birds, and 10 “kinds” of reptiles in the ark, they could have produced the variety of species known today. Others have been more liberal in estimating that 72 “kinds” of quadrupeds and less than 200 bird “kinds” were all that were required. That the great variety of animal life known today could have come from inbreeding within so few “kinds” following the Flood is proved by the endless variety of humankind—short, tall, fat, thin, with countless variations in the color of hair, eyes, and skin—all of whom sprang from the one family of Noah"

These estimates may seem too restrictive to some, especially since such sources as The Encyclopedia Americana indicate that there are upwards of 1,300,000 species of animals. (1977, Vol. 1, pp. 859-873) However, over 60 percent of these are insects. Breaking these figures down further, of the 24,000 amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, 10,000 are birds, 9,000 are reptiles and amphibians, many of which could have survived outside the ark, and only 5,000 are mammals, including whales and porpoises, which would have also remained outside the ark. Other researchers estimate that there are only about 290 species of land mammals larger than sheep and about 1,360 smaller than rats. (The Deluge Story in Stone, by B. C. Nelson, 1949, p. 156; The Flood in the Light of the Bible, Geology, and Archaeology, by A. M. Rehwinkel, 1957, p. 69) So, even if estimates are based on these expanded figures, the ark could easily have accommodated a pair of all these animals.
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Steak and Chips - are you declaring yourself here as a god botherer?

Or do you just have an 'interest' in the concept/story of Noah's Ark?

Personally, picking up on GartherRDR's contribution, I think Big Eck would have built a better Ark than Noah, and both would have built a better Ark than Houllier, were the whole thing not a load of bunkum.

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I'd question the validity of your species figures in the OP. I think there's significantly more species than that.

I'm sure I've read there's over 10 million species of insect alone.

Also, the task of rounding up the species is a ridiculous thought in itself.

And, can you imagine the pure carnage on a ship with one of every species on it? It would be like one huge fight to the death.

My money's on the ladybird.

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