How did the dinosaurs fit on Noah’s ark?

Author: BibleAsk Team


Dinosaurs in Noah’s Ark

The story of Noah’s Ark, found in the book of Genesis, is one of the most well-known narratives in the Bible. According to the biblical account, God commanded Noah to build an ark to save himself, his family, and a pair of every kind of animal from a catastrophic flood that would cover the earth.

The logistics of fitting all the animals, including dinosaurs, on the ark, especially given their size and diversity, have led to much speculation and discussion. Let’s explore this topic, considering the size of the ark, the variety of dinosaurs, and the practicalities of the narrative, supported by references from the Bible.

1. The Size of the Ark:

a. Biblical Description: The dimensions of the ark are provided in Genesis 6:15: “And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.” A cubit was a unit of measurement roughly equivalent to the length from a man’s elbow to the tip of his outstretched middle finger, typically estimated to be around 18 inches or 45 centimeters.

b. Dimensions: Based on these measurements, the ark would have been approximately 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. It had three decks, providing ample space for the animals, provisions, and Noah’s family.

c. Capacity: The ark’s total capacity would have been around 1.52 million cubic feet, providing sufficient space to accommodate a diverse array of animals while still allowing for proper ventilation and stability.

d. Animals in the Ark: Creationist researcher John Woodmorappe has shown that Noah had on the ark representatives from about 8,000 animal genera or about 16,000 individual animals. Note that dogs, wolves, and coyotes are perhaps from a single canine “kind,” so hundreds of different dogs were not needed to be included among the animals that got into the Ark. The Scripture does not teach that Noah took aboard the ark two of every “species” of animals on Earth. The truth is that Noah took aboard the ark two of each “kind” of animal which possessed enough genetic variety so that each kind could yield offspring that is significantly different.

References:

  • Genesis 6:14: “Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.”
  • Genesis 6:16: “You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.”

2. Variety of Dinosaurs:

a. Classification: Dinosaurs were a diverse group of reptiles with species ranging in size from small birds to massive land giants. They are typically classified into two main groups: sauropods (long-necked, herbivorous dinosaurs) and theropods (bipedal, carnivorous dinosaurs).

b. Diversity: There were hundreds of different dinosaur species, each with its own unique characteristics, behaviors, and ecological niches. Some were small and agile, while others were large and lumbering.

c. Examples: Examples of well-known dinosaurs include the Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and Brachiosaurus, among many others.

References:

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

3. Practical Considerations:

a. Size Discrepancies: It’s important to recognize that not all dinosaurs were massive. While some, like the Brachiosaurus, were indeed enormous, others were much smaller, comparable in size to modern-day animals. The ark would have accommodated smaller dinosaur species along with other animals.

Although there are around 55 kinds of different dinosaurs, it is clear that Noah only took the ones that were small in size. The largest complete dinosaur that is known to us was the Brachiosaurus (“arm lizard”). This creature was 23 m in length and 12 m in height (about the length of two large school buses and the height of a four-story building). However, the smallest dinosaurs, just somewhat bigger than a chicken; Compsognathus (“pretty jaw”) was about 1 m (3 ft) long and could have weighed about 2.5 kg (about 6.5 lb).

b. Juvenile Animals: Noah may not have brought fully grown adult specimens of every animal onto the ark. Instead, he could have brought juveniles, which would require less space and resources and would still contain the genetic diversity needed for the survival of the species.

c. Hibernation or Dormancy: Another possibility is that some animals, including dinosaurs, could have entered a state of hibernation or dormancy during the journey on the ark, conserving energy and reducing their metabolic needs.

References:

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

4. The Flood Narrative:

a. Global Cataclysm: The flood described in the Bible was not a localized event but rather a global cataclysm that covered the entire earth. The purpose of the ark was to preserve and protect all living creatures from this catastrophic deluge.

b. Divine Provision: God instructed Noah to gather the animals and provided the means for their preservation. The miraculous nature of the event, including God’s guidance and protection, transcends human understanding and logistical constraints.

c. Faith and Obedience: Noah’s faithfulness and obedience to God’s command, along with God’s provision and sovereignty, were paramount in the success of the ark’s mission.

References:

  • Genesis 7:17-24: Describes the floodwaters covering the earth and the ark’s role in preserving Noah, his family, and the animals.
  • Genesis 8:1: “Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided.”

Conclusion:

While the logistics of fitting all the animals, including dinosaurs, on Noah’s ark may seem daunting from a human perspective, the biblical narrative presents this event as a miraculous intervention orchestrated by God. The ark’s size, coupled with practical considerations such as juvenile animals and the miraculous nature of the flood narrative, suggests that the task was not beyond the realm of divine providence. Ultimately, the story of Noah’s ark serves as a testament to God’s faithfulness, provision, and sovereignty over all creation, including the diverse and magnificent creatures He made, both large and small.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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