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And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

8:11 olive leaf. The olive tree is extremely hardy and can grow and thrive on almost barren rocky slopes. The fresh olive leaf plucked by the dove proved the land was beginning to produce a vegetal cover and so would soon be ready to support its human and animal residents again. Both seeds and cuttings from pre-Flood plants were abundant in the sediments of the Flood and could grow again as soon as adequate sunlight and dry land were available. Experiments have shown that seeds of a wide variety of plants will sprout even after many months of submergence in salt water. Actually the waters of the earth changed only gradually and slightly in salinity during the Flood, certainly not so much as to prevent the survival and multiplication of all kinds of plants and marine animals after the Flood.

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