T. Rex Toddler Answers Noah's Ark Questions | The Institute for Creation Research
T. Rex Toddler Answers Noah's Ark Questions

In 2006, the fossil of a juvenile Tyrannosaurus-like dinosaur named Tarbosaurus was collected from the Gobi Desert. Investigators examined the fossil in detail this year and estimated that the creature died at two to three years of age. This young specimen not only offers insights into the growth and development of these dinosaurs, it also sheds light on certain misconceptions connected to the biblical account of Noah's Ark.

Paleontologists examined tell-tale growth markers found inside the Tarbosaurus fossil leg bones to establish its approximate age. In a study published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, they estimated that the girth of its tibia bone grew at just over a centimeter per year on average.1 At two or three years of age, the youngster was nine feet long from nose to tail, but weighed only about 70 pounds.2

This fossil's description inadvertently refutes two common but uninformed objections to the historicity of the Bible's account of Noah's Ark. First, critics often claim that large creatures such as tyrannosaurs could not possibly have fit on such a relatively small vessel. Similarly, there is supposed to be no way that all the species of animals could have been transported in Noah's famed wooden barge.

The first objection assumes that Noah and his family had to have taken full-grown dinosaurs on board the Ark, which is typically presumed to have been smaller than its actual biblical dimensions. The Ark was at least 45 feet high, minus the required dimensions for hull structure.3 If the three decks that the Lord specified for its construction were evenly spaced from bottom to top, they would have offered about 15 feet of clearance. Tyrannosaurs could reach 40 feet in length, and the adults would therefore not have fit well on such a deck.

But why would Noah have taken older dinosaurs on board, when younger ones would have fit just fine? The juvenile Tarbosaurus under investigation would have stood waist-high next to most men, and therefore it would have been easily accommodated on the Ark.

Regarding the question of how all the different species could have fit on the Ark, Asia's Tarbosaurus looks so much like North America's Tyrannosaurus that some evolutionary paleontologists suggest that they should be considered the same species. The study authors found a list of clear similarities between their Tarbosaurus specimen and tyrannosaurs, including the "D-shaped" cross-section of the teeth and the distinctive two-fingered tiny forearms.

It is therefore very probable that both these creatures, though granted separate "species" names by virtue of having been found on separate continents, nevertheless were part of the same tyrannosaurids that were one of the "[beasts] of the earth" created to reproduce "after [their] kind."4 Noah was not required to board every species, but only two of every kind—a much broader category than species.5

Researcher John Woodmorappe generously equated "kinds" with the modern, broader classification "genus," noting that many animals grouped in the still-broader designation of "family" can interbreed. Adding all the kinds of nostril-breathing, land-living creatures—both extinct and extant—Woodmorappe estimated that 16,000 animals went aboard the Ark, requiring a maximum of only two of its three decks.6

It has also been suggested that the dinosaur genus Nanotyrannus was just a juvenile Tyrannosaurus.7 Thus, three different species, and probably more, could have been represented by only two youthful tyrannosaurids on the Ark. The Tarbosaurus toddler illustrates two reasons why Noah's Ark was a feasible project. Not only did Noah only need to take juvenile members of very large creature groups, but he only had to take two of every kind—not two of every "species." And the Ark was more than capable of handling that.

References

  1. Tsuihiji, T. et al. 2011. Cranial Osteology of a Juvenile Specimen of Tarbosaurus bataar (Theropoda, Tyrannosauridae) from the Nemegt Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Bugin Tsav, Mongolia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 31 (3): 497-517.
  2. Choi, C. Q. Terrible Twos: Young Tyrannosaurs Were Careful Predators. LiveSceince. Posted on livescience.com May 9, 2011, accessed May 10, 2011.
  3. The biblical unit of measurement for the Ark is the cubit, which is commonly calculated at 18 inches. However, it is possible that a royal cubit, which was longer than 18 inches, provided the Ark's dimensions. See Lovett, T. Why Longer Cubits Make More Sense in a Biblical Framework. Posted on worldwideflood.com June 2005, accessed May 10, 2011.
  4. Genesis 1:25.
  5. Genesis 6:19-20.
  6. Woodmorappe, J. 1996. Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study. Santee, CA: Institute for Creation Research.
  7. Thomas, B. Dinosaur Ranks Shrink as Species Numbers Dwindle. ICR News. Posted on icr.org October 13, 2009, accessed May 10, 2011.

Image credit: Copyright © 2011 The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. Adapted for use in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holders.

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

Article posted on May 18, 2011.

The Latest
NEWS
Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Next Week
Both amateur and professional stargazers have an opportunity to see a little more of God’s glory revealed in the heavens1 next week. The...

NEWS
Great American Outdoors Act, Signed into Law by President
In a bipartisan legislative achievement to promote better stewardship of American public lands, U.S. Senators and Representatives finalized their bill...

NEWS
Grandmothers, Eat Fish to Protect Your Brains!
This month the American Academy of Neurology published a medical science study showing that senior women can fight air pollution hazards, including brain...

NEWS
Embarrassment Continues over Evolutionary Blunder about “Junk...
Recent research from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) continues to highlight how evolutionary theory influenced...

NEWS
God’s Plan Is Best: Salmon Need Saltwater Acclimation
Once again, results are better when aquaculture imitates the natural life cycle of Atlantic salmon.1,2 In other words, the closer fish farmers...

NEWS
Inside August 2020 Acts & Facts
Have you heard about ICR’s new President and Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Randy Guliuzza? What can we learn from an old prayer? Is creation evidence...

NEWS
After 30 Years, Red Kites Soar in British Skies
Good news is always welcome. So, it’s good to learn of another conservation comeback. This time it’s the red kite happily soaring in Great...

CREATION PODCAST
Meet Dr. G
Hear the history and heart of ICR’s newly appointed President and Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Randy Guliuzza. He has served as ICR’s National...

ACTS & FACTS
'Doing Business' in Good Times and Bad
No doubt many of you, like me, have been earnestly looking for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. He called all believers to be godly “salt”...

APOLOGETICS
Sentinels Are Needed in Perilous Times
Watch out! Dangers lurk everywhere—these are surely perilous times.1 One of the apologetics-exhorting themes in Jude’s epistle...