Post-Flood race for survival
Published: 29 February 2020 (GMT+10)
Would predators hunt prey to extinction as they come off Noah’s Ark?
Would animals have to run for their lives as soon as they got off the Ark? Would some go extinct as they got hunted by predators? Sarah B. from Canada writes:
How did Noah let the animals off of the ark? I’m imaging that if he let 2 lions, and 2 antelope out at the same time that the lions would eat the antelope, and then the antelope would be extinct. How was extinction of certain species prevented when the animals would have been eating each other? Thanks!
CMI Canada’s Thomas Bailey responds:
Thanks for writing in. This is an interesting question; one we don’t get very often. Genesis 8:18–19 reads, “So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark.” While this implies that all the animals disembarked at the same time, the term “by families” may mean there was some time lag between herbivores and carnivores. We can’t really know for certain.
However, let us consider a few possible alternatives to immediate post-Flood carnivory. First of all, it’s quite likely that the carnivores on board the Ark did not eat fresh meat during the year-long flood. It would have been possible to bring dried meat on board and some carnivores can survive without meat for a time, as all did before the Fall. Some even do so today. See The lion that wouldn’t eat meat and Lea, the spaghetti lioness. So it would be possible for carnivores to subsist on plant matter for a time after the Flood as well; but they probably didn’t need to.
Creation researcher John Woodmorappe in his landmark study Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study discusses several other possibilities. For instance, of the many animals that were killed during the Flood, some would have been deeply buried and possibly turned into a jelly relatively free of bacteria. Even today, Inuit people bury thousands of fish in large pits in order to eat the resultant jelly later. Dogs eat this jelly as well. Experiments in recent years have shown that a cadaver can be exhumed after several years and not be reduced to a skeleton. Exhumed carrion was likely a major food source for carnivores after the Flood, and not just scavengers. Other carnivores, such as lions and tigers, will also eat carrion. In fact, lions often prefer it to a fresh kill. Some carnivores prefer carrion simply because it’s often easier to obtain.
Also, animals that sank deeply in the floodwater would have experienced a reduction in bacterial decomposition. Even those in shallow water could have been preserved for up to five years by a reaction of body fat and water resulting in adipocere, or ‘grave wax’. There also would have been fish trapped in pools of water left after the retreating floodwaters. Consider also that fish did not need to be on the Ark and while many died in the Flood, some survived; probably significantly more than two of each created kind. Many types of fish reproduce rapidly when the water is full of nutrients, as it would have been immediately post-Flood; so this would have quickly provided another source of meat.
I hope this has been helpful. For more about this and many other questions about Noah’s Flood, I recommend Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study by John Woodmorappe. Thank you for your support.