How did he do it?

How did he fit all those animals on the Ark?

Did the dinosaurs fit in the Ark?

William Geating

The Ark was awesome in size! It was 450 feet long, 75 feel wide, and 45 feet tall. Think of one and a half football fields for the length and a four-story building for the height. With these great dimensions, it was capable of holding over 500 railroad stockcars inside its hull!

Although God made some huge animals, such as dinosaurs, elephants, and hippos, the average size for all animals is that of a sheep. The Ark was capable of holding 125,280 sheep, but it was not necessary to fill it to capacity with all the animals on the earth. Only the animals that live on land (mammals, reptiles) or in the air (birds) were to be taken on board the Ark. Ultimately, the number of animals that went on the Ark was about 35,000. A number that would fill approximately 146 railroad stockcars.

God did not need to include every species of an animal. The Bible says they were sent according to their kind. Although we cannot be certain what the Bible means by kind, an example from animals currently alive can help explain this. From the large Saint Bernard to the diminutive Chihuahua, there are presently 250 types of domesticated dogs living today. There are also wild dogs such as the wolf or coyote. Noah did not need to take every type of dog on board. He only needed a pair of a “kind” of a dog, which was sent specifically by God. God made each species, like the canines, with great genetic variability. Now many generations later, from that one pair of dogs placed on the Ark, we have all the different types of dogs we see today. This same process would be repeated with all the other “kinds” of animals sent by God to Noah.

The Bible does not state how old the animals were. Depending upon the species, most were probably young—from several months to several years old. Young animals eat and defecate less, but more important, they would be at a mature state and able to repopulate the world after the Flood waters receded. They would also take up less space in the Ark.

So, God probably placed on the Ark the primary “seeds” of every species, which included the dinosaurs. Although there are more than 800 species of dinosaurs, Noah would have needed a pair of only 40 or 50 “kinds” on the Ark. The largest known dinosaurs are the Sauropoda (such as Brachiosaur). While they were still young, Noah easily could have accommodated them. As illustrated in the picture below, this young Sauropod would have been 17 feet in length, as compared to more than 80 feet as an adult, and could have been easily contained on the Ark.

Additionally, when animals experience threatening catastrophic situations, such as the Ark encountered during the Flood, they tend to lapse into a hibernation-like state called torpor. This means that they become dormant and sedate, resulting in less eating and defecating. This in turn significantly reduced the workload of Noah and the other seven humans on board.

HO scale model of the Ark and animals. On the top of the Ark are a young dinasaur about 17 feet long (adults grow to be 80 feet long!) and a mature elephant approximately 13 feet tall.

BSpade 14:2 (Spring 2001) p. 62

In Genesis 6:12, we read that God instructed Noah to bring food and water onto the Ark. Estimating the necessary provisions for the expected 35,000 animals on the Ark, the space required would have filled an additional 112 railroad stockcars.

The Ark was still not full!

The Bible tells us Noah and his sons spent 120 years building the Ark (Gn 6:3). During this time, Noah preached to the people of God’s coming wrath for their sinful lifestyles. In His great mercy, God had provided room on the Ark for any who would have repented and turned to God’s salvation (the Ark). The Ark, like Jesus, was the only way to safety and life. God, in His infinite love and mercy, provides a way of salvation to those who will listen.

BSpade 14:2 (Spring 2001) p. 63