Students Surprised to Find Noah's Ark Feasible | The Institute for Creation Research

Students Surprised to Find Noah's Ark Feasible

Advanced physics students at Leicester University were tasked with determining if the Biblical dimensions of Noah's ark—assuming it was properly constructed—could have supported the mass of 70,000 animals. Student Kayie Raymer told UK's The Telegraph that after other "more serious" assignments, this one was "something different."1 What did they find?

The students used 48.2cm (almost 19 inches) as the length of a cubit to estimate the total dimensions of the ark. Using the density of water and Archimedes' principle of buoyancy, they calculated the total mass the ark could contain without sinking.

"Previous research has suggested that there were approximately 35,000 species of animals which would have needed to be saved by Noah," according to The Telegraph, though they cited no source for this estimate. Doubling this number to account for a male and female of each species, the student group estimated that the ark needed to have held approximately 70,000 creatures. To the students' surprise, they found that this amount did not exceed the total mass the ark could contain. Physics student Thomas Morris told The Telegraph, "You don't think of the Bible necessarily as a scientifically accurate source of information, so I guess we were quite surprised when we discovered it would work." The students published their results in Leicester University's Journal of Physics Special Topics.

The students' results at the ark having 70,000 creatures actually exceed biblical expectations, giving further assurance that the ark could hold all that it needed—including food and even water.

Creatures change within the boundaries of their own "kinds" or fundamental forms, so Noah certainly did not need to take on board all "species,"a modern term that seems to bear as many definitions as there are researchers who use it.

What about the biblical detail given in Genesis, which noted seven of each bird kind—probably meaning seven pairs of each bird kind—on board Noah's ark? If today's "species" were substituted for basic "kinds" here, then the total number of birds would probably have exceeded ark capacity. However, creation biologists have been combing the literature for breeding records that help them estimate which "species" likely belonged to a "kind."2 For example, breeding studies link sparrows and finches as within-kind creatures.3 Instead of over 1,000 sparrow or finch "species," perhaps as few as 14 sparrow-finch representatives were on the ark.

Applying this principle to all "species" would dramatically reduce Leicester University's student-estimated 70,000 animals. Creation researcher John Woodmorappe's book, Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study, estimated the number of ark kinds as the number of families of extant and extinct air-breathing, land-dwelling animals, totaling about 8,000 kinds or 16,000 individuals—including the sevens of birds and clean animals.4 That would require merely one third of the ark's volume, leaving plenty of space for provisions and people.

It's amazing what happens when the Bible's accuracy is put to the test. The Leicester University physics students "were astonished to find out that the Ark would have floated," according to The Telegraph.1 How much more astonished would they be to find that the Ark not only could have floated, but could have carried all its passengers and their provisions for a whole year, just as the Scriptures say? Since the Bible contains spiritual truths, discovering that the Bible also records historical truth turns out to be "more serious" than secularized students at first suspect.

References

  1. Knapton, S. Noah's Ark would have floated...even with 70,000 animals. The Telegraph. Posted on telegraph.co.uk April 3, 2014, accessed April 3, 2014
  2. Henigan, T. An Initial Estimate toward Identifying and Numbering the Ark Turtle and Crocodile Kinds. Answers Research Journal. 7 (2014): 1-10. 
  3. Lightner, J.K. 2010. Identification of a large sparrow-finch monobaramin in perching birds (Aves: Passeriformes). Journal of Creation. 24 (3): 117-121 
  4. Woodmorappe, J. 1996. Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study. Santee, CA: Institute for Creation Research.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on April 11, 2014.

The Latest
NEWS
Thanks for Everything
“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:20) Being thankful for...

NEWS
Even Sherlock Holmes Can’t Explain African Dinosaurs
A new species of duck-billed dinosaur, Ajnabia odysseus, was recently unearthed in North Africa.1 This is the first hadrosaur-type dinosaur...

NEWS
Glow-in-the-Dark Platypuses Illuminate the Creator
The platypus is perhaps the most evolution-defying creature on Earth. It’s not enough that it’s a mammal that lays eggs, has a bill like a...

NEWS
Rapid Crystal Growth Supports Flood Model
Secular scientists are finding exactly what Flood geologists have predicted all along—huge crystals can and did grow extremely fast. In other words,...

NEWS
Hot Neptune Atmosphere "Shouldn't Exist"
An exoplanet 260 light-years away is being described as the first of its kind ever detected.1,2 This exoplanet, catalogued as LTT 9779b, is...

NEWS
Inside November 2020 Acts & Facts
Where can we see God’s engineering? What is ICR’s new scientific theory? How do hummingbirds reveal God’s design? How can you refute...

ACTS & FACTS
Thankful Remembrance
We all have so much to be thankful for. Even after such a trying year, we must admit that God has been so very good to us. The Lord has not only shown...

APOLOGETICS
Mayflower Pilgrims, Simian DNA, and Straw Men
Both the Mayflower Pilgrims and biblical creationists are unjustly targeted for straw man vilifications using misleading, false accusations. A straw...

ACTS & FACTS
How Can You Refute Evolution?
Darwinian evolution promotes a mantra that “all creatures great and small—natural processes made them all.” Just one creature somehow...

ACTS & FACTS
Hummingbirds by Design
Zoologists have wonder and appreciation for the animals they investigate, whether the creatures fly through air, swim in water, or walk on land. Stanford...