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Were dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark?

First published: 3 April 2000 (GMT+10)
Re-featured on homepage: 4 August 2016 (GMT+10)

Ceinturion, wikimedia commons

JohansArk

1. Were dinosaurs even around then?

The story we have all heard from movies, television, newspapers, and most magazines and textbooks is that dinosaurs ‘ruled the Earth’ for 140 million years, died out 65 million years ago, and therefore weren’t around when Noah and company set sail on the Ark around 4300 years ago.

However, the Bible gives a completely different view of Earth (and therefore, dinosaur) history. As God’s written Word to us, we can trust it to tell the truth about the past. (For more information about the reliability of Scripture, see Q&A: Bible.)

Although the Bible does not tell us exactly how long ago it was that God made the world and its creatures, we can make a good estimate of the age of the universe by carefully studying the whole counsel of Scripture:

  1. God made everything in six days, and rested on the seventh. (By the way, this is the basis for our seven day week—Exodus 20:8–11). Leading Hebrew scholars indicate that, based on the grammatical structure of Genesis 1, these ‘days’ were normal-length, and did not represent long periods of time (see Q&A: Genesis).

  2. We are told God created the first man and woman—Adam and Eve—on Day Six, along with the land animals (which would have included dinosaurs).

  3. The Bible records the genealogies from Adam to Christ. From the ages given in these lists (and accepting that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to Earth around 2000 years ago), we can conclude that the universe is only a few thousand years old (perhaps just 6000), and not millions of years old (see also The earth: how old does it look?, especially under Jesus and the age of the world). Thus, dinosaurs lived within the past few thousand years.

2. So, were dinosaurs on the Ark?

In Genesis 6:19–20, the Bible says that two of every sort of land vertebrate (seven pairs of the ‘clean’ animals) were brought by God to the Ark. Therefore, dinosaurs (land vertebrates) were represented on the Ark.

3. How did those huge dinosaurs fit on the Ark?

Although there are about 668 names of dinosaurs, there are perhaps only 55 different ‘kinds’ of dinosaurs.

Although there are about 668 names of dinosaurs, there are perhaps only 55 different ‘kinds’ of dinosaurs. Furthermore, not all dinosaurs were huge like the Brachiosaurus, and even those dinosaurs on the Ark were probably ‘teenagers’ or young adults. Indeed, dinosaurs were recently discovered to go through a growth spurt, so God could have brought dinosaurs of the right age to start this spurt as soon as they disembarked—see Dinosaur growth rates: Problem or solution for creationists?

Creationist researcher John Woodmorappe has calculated that Noah had on board with him representatives from about 8,000 animal genera (including some now-extinct animals), or around 16,000 individual animals. When you realize that horses, zebras, and donkeys are probably descended from the horse-like ‘kind’, Noah did not have to carry two sets of each such animal. Also, dogs, wolves, and coyotes are probably from a single canine ‘kind’, so hundreds of different dogs were not needed.

According to Genesis 6:15, the Ark measured 300 x 50 x 30 cubits, which is about 460 x 75 x 44 feet, with a volume of about 1.52 million cubic feet. Researchers have shown that this is the equivalent volume of 522 standard railroad stock cars (US), each of which can hold 240 sheep. By the way, only 11% of all land animals are larger than a sheep.

Without getting into all the math, the 16,000-plus animals would have occupied much less than half the space in the Ark (even allowing them some moving-around space).

Conclusion

The Bible is reliable in all areas, including its account of the Ark (and the worldwide catastrophic Flood). A Christian doesn’t have to have a blind faith to believe that there really was an Ark. What the Bible says about the Ark can even be measured and tested today.

For answers to other objections about the Biblical account of Noah’s Flood and the Ark (e.g., Where did all the water come from?, How did Noah collect and then care for the animals?, etc.), see the books featured below. The Creation Answers Book—Chapters 12 and 13, in particular, cover these particular ‘problems’ related to Noah’s Flood, and Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study covers these and more in detail.

For more information on dinosaurs, read chapter 19 of the The Creation Answers Book on Dinosaurs.

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Readers’ comments
David P., United States, 8 August 2016

We must remember that Noah did not choose the animals that went on the Ark, God did. Genesis 7:9, 15 tell us that the animals came to Noah; Noah did not go collect them. So regarding the size of the dinosaurs on the Ark, since God chose them, He would have chosen the perfect ones to fit and to represent the various kinds of all the animals and birds.

Wolli W., South Africa, 5 August 2016

"The story we have all heard from movies, television, newspapers, and most magazines and textbooks is that dinosaurs ‘ruled the Earth’ for 140 million years, died out 65 million years ago"

This is a very subjective comment. It is not a story and it was not derived from TV's and newspapers. Evolution is a scientific theory. Yes, merely a theory but nonetheless, built on scientific evidence. If you want your theory to be taken seriously please approach it in a scientific manner.

How were the animals on the ark fed? Did they eat each other, how did they prevent fighting, sickness and dehydration? It is not only about the size of the ark but also the weight of the load? How was this massive weight accommodated?

You state: "which would have included dinosaurs" but you don't back this up with fact. So are there facts to prove this or is this an assumption?

Were these dinosaurs herbivorous? How do we know this? If they were carnivorous, did they eat the other animals?

If "dinosaurs lived within the past few thousand years" Where are they now? I can understand them disappearing millions of years ago due to changes on earth or Darwin's theory. But your theory that they only died off recently does not explain what happened to them. Or why there are so few remnants of their existence. For example, why are there no cave paintings with illustrations of dinosaurs if they died out so recently?

Warren Nunn responds

There are answers to all your questions on our website; just type any of them into our search function. I'd recommend you start with this article, Faith and facts that deals with how a biblical worldview makes best sense of the scientific evidence.

Gail F., United States, 4 August 2016

When the dinosaurs left the ark, were they carnivorous? If they were, they would eat an animal which would never be able to reproduce since only a pair of each were on the ark. If they were herbivores, when did they become carnivores?

Warren Nunn responds

You should find this article about carnviory helpful. As well, this article deals with managing carnivores on the Ark.

M. K., United Kingdom, 4 August 2016

One of the things many don't realise is that when atheists laugh at the possibility of dinosaurs being on the ark, they are actually using circular reasoning because to claim that they couldn't have been on the ark, they base themselves on ''ages'' of millions of years derived from uniformitarianism, a geological philosophy which began with an a priori rejection of the biblical account of the Flood. Also, atheists scoff at the possibility of a global flood on Earth, but don't have problems with one on Mars, where there is no water at all. If these ''sceptics'' ever spent a tenth of the time they spend thinking about ''problems'' with the Bible trying to come up with challenges to materialistic evolution, they'd all be creationists.

James F., United States, 4 August 2016

If we get horses, zebras, and donkey from 7 pairs of horse-like kind 4,300 years ago, then speciation occurs at the speed of light. That is not believable.

Warren Nunn responds

When you say it's not believable, you may want to consider the article Faith and facts. You may find it useful to familiarise yourself with rapid speciation because even Darwin’s finches are a great example of that. There are various other examples such as those mentioned in the article Speedy species surprise.

Graeme M., Australia, 4 August 2016

Hi CMI,

Thanks to a couple decades of your magazines. I have come to understand how misinformed we have been led into believing in the 'evolution story' as fact! What a farce! I'm surprised 'their philosphy' even 'floats' at all based on the 'patches' they use to plug up the holes whenever there is conflict to their 'original findings'. The only 'trump' they have is public ignorance of the true findings!

Regards, Gra.

Daniel G., Australia, 13 March 2014

How did they get the Argentinasaurus on the ark? I'm only 10 and it seems it would be too big.

Tas Walker responds

He would just take young ones on. See How did dinosaurs grow so big?

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