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By 16. November 2023November 18th, 2023Bible study


In my book, Can We Trust the Bible? With Focus on the Creation Account, the Worldwide Flood, and the Prophecies I show there is strong geological evidence that the earth was covered with water a few thousand years ago and that the information in the Bible about the great flood has good scientific backing. In this article, I will make a thorough analysis of what the Bible says about  Noah’s Ark and the humans and the animals that survived the flood.


In order to have the right background, we must read the account of the great flood in the Bible. I quote Genesis 7:11-16, 21-24 and 8: 14-20:

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on this day all the springs of the vast watery deep were broken open and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And the downpour upon the earth went on for forty days and forty nights. 13 On this very day Noah went in, and Shem and Ham and Jaʹpheth, Noah’s sons, and the wife of Noah and the three wives of his sons with him, into the ark; 14 they and every wild beast (hayyā) according to its kind, and every domestic animal (behēmā) according to its kind, and every moving animal (ræmæs) that moves on the earth according to its kind, and every flying creature according to its kind, every bird, every winged creature. 15 And they kept going to Noah inside the ark, two by two, of every sort of flesh in which the force of life was active. 16And those going in, male and female of every sort of flesh, went in, just as God had commanded him. After that Jehovah shut the door behind him.

21 So all flesh that was moving upon the earth expired, among the flying creatures and among the domestic animals and among the wild beasts and among all the swarms that were swarming upon the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything in which the breath of the force of life was active in its nostrils, namely, all that were on the dry ground, died. 23 Thus he wiped out every existing thing that was on the surface of the ground, from man to beast, to moving animal and to flying creature of the heavens, and they were wiped off the earth; and only Noah and those who were with him in the ark kept on surviving. 24 And the waters continued overwhelming the earth a hundred and fifty days.

14 And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried off. 15 God now spoke to Noah, saying:  16 “Go out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 17 Every living creature that is with you of every sort of flesh, among the flying creatures+ and among the beasts and among all the moving animals that move upon the earth, bring out with you, as they must swarm in the earth and be fruitful and become many upon the earth.” 18 At that Noah went out, and also his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him.  19 Every living creature, every moving animal and every flying creature, everything that moves on the earth, according to their families they went out of the ark.

I will make some comments on 7:14, which I translate in the following way:

14 they and every beast (hayyā) according to its group, and every animal (behēmā) according to its group, and every creeping animal (ræmæs) that moves on the ground according to its group, and every flying creature (‘ōf) according to its kind, every bird, every winged creature.

The designations of the animals in most Bible translations are inaccurate. The word hayyā refers to all kinds of animals, and not only those that we say are wild. Therefore, I use the general term “beast.” Moreover, the account of the paradise in Genesis shows that all animals were peaceful and there were no wild animals in the modern sense of the word at the time of Noah. The word behēmā also refers to animals in general, and therefore I use the term “animal.” The designation “domestic animal” refers to animals that are not wild but that are kept as pets or to produce food. There were no such animals at that time. So, both the Hebrew words hayyā and behēmā may refer to all groups of terrestrial animals except those that were creeping on the ground. The word ‘ōf can include all flying creatures, and the last words “every bird, every winged creature” represent a specification of ‘ōf. The words “every winged creature” include insects that are like small birds, such as grasshoppers but hardly small insects.

Does the account say that a male and a female of all the animal and bird families were taken into the Ark? It is logical that this was the case. But the text does not explicitly say so. We read in 7:14: “every beast (hayyā) according to its kind.” I use “group” instead of “kind” for the Hebrew word min. The Hebrew noun kol can be rendered as “all,” “every,” and “all kinds” So, the clause can be rendered as “all kinds of beasts according to its group.”

The account shows that all the terrestrial animals, including the creeping ones, and all flying creatures, including the bigger insects, were killed by the great flood. Only the living creatures in the Ark survived the flood.

In order to make the correct calculations, we need to understand the time frame of the flood. According to Genesis 7:11 and 8:14, the humans and the animals were in the ark for one year and ten days, which may be 371 days In addition to a calculation of the number of animals that were in the ark, there must also be calculations of the amount of food and drinking water that would be necessary for the humans and the animals.


Most people today would say that the account of Noah and the Ark is just fiction. It is impossible that all the present animals could have survived inside a boat for one year, even if it was quite big. Even such a worldwide flood is just fiction, is the view of most people. These are questions that will be considered.


The IUCN red list contains the number of species that have been described by scientists. The following numbers are given: Mammals: 6,596, Reptiles: 11.733, Birds 11,188.[1]  The total number of all the species is 29,517, and the ancestors of all these species survived the worldwide flood, according to the Bible.

The account in the Bible says that a male and a female of birds, reptiles, and mammals, were brought into the ark, and of those few that were called “clean animals,” seven pairs (or seven individuals) were brought into the ark.[2] All the animals needed food and water for the 371 days when they were in the ark. Is the account in the Bible true history or pure fiction? We should not be too quick to draw our conclusion because there are strong reasons to believe that each species was not represented inside the ark. We can get some clues as to which animals were in the Ark by considering the classification of animals.[3]

Table 1.1 The taxonomic ranks of mammals, reptiles. and birds

Domain Eucarya — orgnisms with complex cells
Kingdom Animalia — all living and extinct animals
Phylum Chordata — vertebrate with a skeleton of cartilage
Class Mammaliacomprising humans and all other animals
Order Carnivora — powerful jaws and teeth adapted for eating flesh. 28 4 23
Family Canidae — the dog family and other families 156 82 142
Genus Genus — Animals above and below family 1,258 1,131 2,057
Species Species — animals that usually can interbreed 5,937 9,546 9,702

I will later show that the 400 different kinds of dogs have developed during the last 150 years because of selective breeding of humans, and the different races of mankind have developed during a period of less than 1,000 years. In a similar way, there are strong reasons to believe that a great number of the present species have developed during the last few thousand years. This means that only the ancestors of the 29,517 species mentioned above were present in the Ark and not a male and a female of the present species. But where do we find the ancestors in taxonomic ranks listed above in Table 1.1?

We read in Genesis 7:14 that birds, animals, and reptiles, were taken according to their min. To what does the Hebrew word min refer? It is derived from the word temūnā, which means, “likeness; representation; form.” The word min is translated by “kind” or “group.” The designations of the animals mentioned in Genesis 7:14, hayyā and behēmā, are general with the meaning “animal” and “beast.” They do not refer to “species” but to “Kingdom, Animalia” in the taxonomic table. So, in which taxonomic rank do we find the ancestors of the present living species? There are two possibilities, either “family” or “genus.”


John Woodmorappe has written the book: Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study. He has a BA in biology and a BA and MA in geology, and he has written several excellent studies on geology and biology related to the Bible. His book is a thorough study of the animals in the Ark, and it has 1,300 references to relevant scientific studies.[4]

I am not aware of any other study where the author has made scientific calculations of the number of animals, how much food and water were needed for 371 days, how the waste was removed, the ventilation of the Ark, and whether eight persons could manage to take care of all these animals during the flood. Another important side of the book is that Woodmorappe considers a great number of objections that have been raised by scholars against the historicity of the account of the Ark, and he discusses these objections in a balanced way. I highly recommend this book.

Woodmorappe is rather generous in his calculations. He uses the genera of the animals, which include 4,446 animals. If he had used families, that would have included only 380 animals. He also includes extinct animals in the Ark, such as several dinosaurs. This means that this author does not use special tricks in order to reduce the number of individual animals in the Ark as much as possible. But he uses calculations that he as a scholar believes are balanced and accurate. On the basis of these calculations he concludes that there were 16,000 individual animals in the Ark. I present his calculations, and after that, I will point to data indicating that the number of animals could have been less than 16,000.


Our first task is to find the size of the Ark, and we read the account in Genesis 6:14-16:

14 Make for yourself an ark out of wood of a resinous tree. You will make compartments in the ark, and you must cover it inside and outside with tar. 15 And this is how you will make it: three hundred cubits (’ammā) the length of the ark, fifty cubits its width, and thirty cubits its height. 16 You will make a tsoʹhar[roof; or, window] for the ark, and you will complete it to the extent of a cubit upward, and the entrance of the ark you will put in its side; you will make it with a lower [story], a second [story] and a third [story].

The measures are expressed in ’ammā, which is translated as “cubit.” There are two possibilities for the length of the cubit, either 18 inches, which is 45 cm or 19 inches, which is 48 cm. On the basis of the cubit being 45 cm, the size of the Ark was:

Length: 137 meters (450 feet)

Width: 22.8 meters (75 feet)

Height: 13.7 meters (45 feet)

Volume: 43.000 cubic meters

Several persons have questioned whether it was possible to make such a huge construction at this time, and whether such a structure was able to flout in the water. Noah got instructions for the building of the ark. But these instructions are rather general, and we cannot know the details as to how the Ark was constructed. The wood of which the ark was made is called gōfær in Hebrew. But we do not know to which trees this word refers. One important question is whether Noah had the tools so he could fell trees and join them together so they could make the walls of the Ark strong. The words of Genesis 4:22 may give us some clues (my translation):

22 And Zillah, she also gave birth to Tubal-Cain, who was a maker (lit. “hammerer”) of all kinds of tools out of copper and iron.

The father of Tubal-Cain was Lamek, and Lamek was also the father of Noah. This shows that tools of iron and copper were made in the days of Noah, and such tools he would use when he constructed the Ark. According to Genesis 6:3, 9-17, Jehovah decided to let the worldwide flood come 120 years before it happened. This shows that Noah and his sons and daughters had a long time to build the Ark.

Because all the details regarding how the Ark was constructed are not known, it is futile to speculate whether the Ark was seaworthy or not. However, the fact that historical accounts from ancient Greece describe huge ships shows that the huge size of the Ark cannot be used as an argument against its seaworthiness. I quote the translation from Latin by J. Usher about the ships in the battle in the Aegean Sea 280 BCE:

The largest ship of all had eight tiers of oars and was called the Leontifera. She was admired by all for her large size and exquisite construction. In her were a hundred oars per tier, so that on each side there were eight hundred rowers which made 1600 in all. On the upper deck or hatches there were 1200 fighting men who were under two special commanders. When the battle began, Ceraunus won and Antigonus was forced to flee with all his navy. In this fight, the ships from Heraclea performed the best and among them the Leontifera did the best of all.5

The length of the ship is not mentioned.  But if we assume that there were 100 rowers per tier, the ship could have been between 120 and 150 meters (400-500 feet). This shows that large ships made of three not only could be floating. But they could even be used as warships. So, arguments that such a big structure as the Ark could not be floating are futile.


The volume of the ark is 43,000 cubic meters, and in order to show that the Ark could contain all these animals, Woodmorappe calculates the weight of the 7,876 pairs of animals in the Ark.[5]

Table 1.2 The body-mass in grams and kilograms of the animals in the Ark

1-10 g 869
10-100 g 2,343
100-1 kg 1,619
1-10 kg 1,176
10-100 kg 964
100-1000 kg 594
1000-10,000 kg 258
10,000-100,000 kg 53

Among the animals between 10 and 100 tons, there are several dinosaurs. But there is no evidence that dinosaurs lived after the humans were created. Woodmorappe assumes that several of the big animals were juvenile, which is a logical assumption.


Calculating the weight of all the animals is one thing, but what about the space for all these animals. Woodmorappe says:

The closest modern analogues to the Ark are not the zoo but the laboratory animal situation and the intensive livestock unit, commonly known as the factory farm. In the latter, we have up to 100,000 animals, living under very crowded conditions under one roof, and cared for by a handful of people. [6]

The factory farm is a place where the animals are not dealt with in a good way because each animal has very little space. However, Woodmorappe argues that the situation with the ark was an emergency situation, and therefore the animals could be treated in an unusual way. The calculation of the space of the animals is as follows:

For purposes of estimating the minimum floor space needed for small animals on the Ark, I have used recommended floor-space areas for the housing of laboratory animals. The floor areas for animals of various sizes are: 38.7 square cms for an animal under 10 grams, 110 square cms for 100 grams, 387 square cms for 350 grams, 0.28 square meters for 2-4kg. For larger animals, I used the values for floor spacing of intensively-housed livestock, because animals must be kept tightly enclosed so that they will be forced to trample their manure through slatted floors (as opposed to lying in it). The floor areas I used … are: 0.56 square cms for a 50 kg animal, 1.11 square meters for a 350 kg one (juvenile of a 1000-10,000 kg adult), and 2.51 square meters for a several hundred kg (or more) animal (juvenile of a 10,000-100,000 kg sauropod dinosaur).[7]

The conclusion of the calculation above is that “less than half the cumulative area of the Ark’s three decks need to have been occupied by the animals and their enclosures.” No one knows how much space each animal had in the Ark. But these calculations are good because they are based on the conditions of animals in a modern factory farm. As mentioned, the conditions in a factory farm are not ideal for the animals. but in the Ark, there hardly were other possibilities.


We know that there was a variety of food in the Ark because we read in Genesis 6:21:

21And as for you, take for yourself every sort of food that is eaten; and you must gather it to yourself, and it must serve as food for you and for them.”

There is one word that is lacking in the quotation, and that is the word “from.” God did not say that Noah should take “every sort of food.” But he said that Noah should take from every sort of food. This means that Noah would consider what the diet of the animals was. Neither Noah nor the animals ate meat, so only plants were taken into the Ark as food.

Woodmorappe notes the argument that many of the large animals needed great amounts of hay, and that there could not be room for that much hay. He notes that animals that eat hay can live on a grain-based diet, and if that were the case, the volume for storing the food would be greatly reduced. Different diets for animals are discussed, and the conclusion of Woodmorappe is that the food would take 3-6 thousand cubic meters of volume, which is 6-12% of the interior volume of the Ark.

Regarding water, he calculates that 4,7 million liters would be necessary for the period of 371 days. This is 9.4% of the total Ark volume. He also mentions the possibility that Noah and his family members  could  collect rainwater from the roof of the ark. If that was the case, the amount of stored water would be greatly reduced.


Woodmorappe calculates that the daily production of animal excreta was twelve cubic meters. He says that if the animal enclosures were cleaned every day, manure gases, odors, and vermin would be almost nonexistent. He also discusses different ways by which the excreta could be handled. He also has a chapter on the ventilation of the ark.


The discussion of Woodmorappe is thorough because he considers all the sides of the issue where questions can be asked. Some of the other issues he discusses are:

  • The construction of the ark and possible problems with the floating of the Ark.
  • How some animals would require a special diets.
  • How eight humans could manage to take care of 16,000 animals.
  • How organisms outside the ark survived the flood.
  • Biological effects of semi-saline floodwater.
  • How amphibians survived the flood.
  • Problems facing post-diluvian plants.
  • Food sources in the “barren” post-flood world.
  • The first post-diluvian food chains.
  • The speciation of animals after the flood.
The importance of the work of John Woodmorappe is that he demonstrates that it is scientifically possible for 16,000 animals to survive 371 days inside a big wooden structure.

Thus, the account of Noah’s Ark with all the animals in it has all the distinguishing marks of being a true historical account.


Woodmorappe has presented a plausible model of how 16,000 animals could have survived the great flood. However, the number of animals that were in the Ark can be reduced. If we take away all extinct animals, the number will be reduced. But because many of these are big, such as dinosaurs, much space in the ark would be saved as well.

Woodmorappe uses genera as the ancestors of the present species. But it would also be possible to use families (see Table 1.1). There are almost twelve times as many animals in the genus group than in the family group — 4,446 versus 380. If the family was used as the group of ancestors instead of the genera, Woodmorappe says correctly that that there would have been only 2,000 individual animals in the ark. (page 7).

The taxonomy of animals with family, genus, and species is an artificial construction. And which animals that are placed in the different groups are also based on interpretations that may differ among different scholars. I will later give the example of the marsupials of Australia and New Guinea where it is quite clear of a speciation after the flood from the family and not from the genus.

However, some of the ancestors of the present species that went out of the ark may be classified as belonging to a family and others to a genus. There could also have been others who  were in between the family and the genus. So, my conclusion is that the number of animals in the Ark could have been be as low as 2,000 and as high as 16,000, and the real number could be between these two extremes.


[2]. The Hebrew words of Genesis 7:2 can mean both seven individuals of the clean animals or seven pairs, but seven pairs is the most natural interpretation.


[4]. Woodmorappe has also written a shorter paper with the title: “The biota and Logistics of Noah’s Ark.” It can be downloaded from:

[5].Ibid., page 627. See the article, “”

[6]. Ibid., page 628.

[7]. Ibid., page 628.


Modern scientists view speciation and the forming of new species as caused by organic evolution with mutations over millions of years. For example, the speciation in the dog family Caniadae from the Grey Wolf to modern domestic dogs took a period of ten million years or more. There is no evidence in favor of organic evolution, which also contradicts the Bible. But microevolution is an established fact. This means that in the DNA of an organism there are genes that can lead to offspring that is different from the parent organism, to new species. This is the same as speciation. So, the new species are not the result of organic evolution, but they are already in the DNA of the parent organism.

In order to support the account of the animals in the ark, we need to show that it is possible that speciation of the animals that came out of the ark through several generations led to all the species that exist today. The great flood is dated in the Bible to the year 2,370 BCE, and therefore, the speciation of all the animals must have occurred in less that 4,400 years.


The word “breed” refers to the process in which animals have sex and produce young animals. Selective breeding means that humans breed animals or plants through many generations until they get animals or plants with particular characteristics.

We can use the example with dogs: Two dogs breed, and they get a puppy with a little shorter legs than its parents. When this puppy becomes an adult, it is bred with another dog with short legs, and the result is a puppy with even shorter legs. This breeding continues until the puppy has very short legs. Now the humans have the end result that they want: a dog with very short legs. Selective breeding of dogs is widespread:

Most dog breeds we recognize today were developed in the last 150 years, spurred by what’s become known as the Victorian Explosion. During this time in Great Britain, dog breeding intensified and expanded, resulting in many of our most recognizable breeds of dogs. The Victorians, influenced by the ideas of Darwin, became passionate about breeding for the ideal of a certain breed. Many of the conformational traits we think of as classic for a certain type of dog have their origins in this era.

Scroll through pictures of dog breeds from 100 years ago compared to their current counterparts and you can see the dramatic changes that have occurred as dog fanciers selectively bred for traits such as shorter legs (Dachshunds were taller back then), and stockier build (German shepherd dogs were lankier at the turn of the last century). Breeding for conformational traits continued through the 20th century. The end result is the 400+ types of dogs recognized as distinct breeds.[1]

The following quotation illustrates selective breeding of plants:

Nearly all the fruits and vegetables found in your local market would not occur naturally. In fact, they exist only because of human intervention that began thousands of years ago. Humans created the vast majority of crop species by using traditional breeding practices on naturally-occurring, wild plants. These practices rely upon selective breeding (artificial selection), human-facilitated reproduction of individuals with desirable traits. For example, high yield varieties were produced through selective breeding. Traditional breeding practices, although low-tech and simple to perform, have the practical outcome of modifying an organism’s genetic information, thus producing new traits.

An interesting example is maize (corn). Biologists have discovered that maize was developed from a wild plant called teosinte. Through traditional breeding practices, humans living thousands of years ago in what is now Southern Mexico began selecting for desirable traits until they were able to transform the plant into what is now known as maize.

The “thousands of years” mentioned in connection with maize are unnecessary. Selective breeding of teosinte could have resulted in maize in 150 years or less, as in the case of the dogs, if humans had bred the plants in quick succession. What is described is not organic evolution but microevolution, as we see in the example with the dogs and with maize. The genes for all the dogs were in the DNA of the first dog. But by selective breeding, the genes were activated, and the result was 400 different dogs. The genes of maize were already in the plant teosinte, and by selective breeding, these genes were activated and this resulted in the maize plant.

The important point in our context is that by selective breeding done by humans, new species can occur in less than hundred or two hundred years.


The expression “natural selective breeding” does not exist but it is coined by me. As mentioned above, “selective breeding” means that humans breed animal or plants until they get the species of animal or plant with the characteristics that they want. Adding the word “natural,” means that a group of individuals have been isolated, and therefore they only have sex with individuals inside this small group. This can result in new breeds or new species. The word “selective” in the phrase “natural selective breeding” means that the end result is something that accords with the purpose of God, i.e., he has indirectly selected the end result by putting the genes causing the end result in the DNA of the ancestor.


The human races are a good example of biological variation occurring in a short time. The chronology of the Bible shows that Adam and Eve were created about six thousand years ago, and the speciation of human races must have occurred during that period. I will now present the characteristics of the different races, and the following divisions of human races are generally accepted:

  1. Caucasoid (European)
  2. Negroid (African)
  3. Mongoloid (Asiatic or Oriental)
  4. Indie (Hindue)
  5. Polynesian (Australian aboriginals)
  6. Polynesian/Melanesian/Micronesian (Sometimes these three are classified as Oceanic)
  7. American Indian

The different physical characteristics of the major racial groups that are compared are:

  1. Skin colour
  2. Stature
  3. Head form
  4. Face
  5. Hair
  6. Eye
  7. Nose
  8. Body shape
  9. Blood group[2]

The differences between some of the groups are great. The average height of the pygmies in Africa is about 4 feet 11 inches (150 cm). The average height of the Dinka Rueng people in Africa is 5 feet 11 inches (182 cm). The appearances of the pygmies in Africa and aborigines in Australia on one hand and white Europeans on the other are also very different. But all of them are human beings. In a similar way, dogs, wolves, coyotes, jackals, dingos, and foxes, look quite different, but they all have many similar characteristics. They all have one male and one female ancestor and belong to the dog family. The same is true with lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, cheetahs, and domestic cats. They all have similar characteristics, and they all have one male and one female ancestor and belong to the cat family. Let us now take a look at the time for the speciation of the races.


Noah’s sons Shem, Ham, and Japhet survived the great flood, and Genesis chapter 10 has a list of the descendants of the three, which represent a list of different nations. I quote Genesis 10:1-32:

1 And this is the history of Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham and Jaʹpheth. Now sons began to be born to them after the deluge. 2 The sons of Jaʹpheth were Goʹmer and Maʹgog and Maʹda·i and Jaʹvan and Tuʹbal and Meʹshech and Tiʹras. 3 And the sons of Goʹmer were Ashʹke·naz and Riʹphath and To·garʹmah.4 And the sons of Jaʹvan were E·liʹshah and Tarʹshish, Kitʹtim and Doʹda·nim. 5 From these the population of the isles of the nations was spread about in their lands, each according to its tongue, according to their families, by their nations.

6 And the sons of Ham were Cush and Mizʹra·im and Put and Caʹnaan. 7 And the sons of Cush were Seʹba and Havʹi·lah and Sabʹtah and Raʹa·mah and Sabʹte·ca. And the sons of Raʹa·mah were Sheʹba and Deʹdan. 8 And Cush became father to Nimʹrod. He made the start in becoming a mighty one in the earth. 9 He displayed himself a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah. That is why there is a saying: “Just like Nimʹrod a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah.” 10 And the beginning of his kingdom came to be Baʹbel and Eʹrech and Acʹcad and Calʹneh, in the land of Shiʹnar. 11 Out of that land he went forth into As·syrʹi·a  and set himself to building Ninʹe·veh and Re·hoʹboth-Ir and Caʹlah 12 and Reʹsen between Ninʹe·veh and Caʹlah: this is the great city. 13And Mizʹra·im became father to Luʹdim and Anʹa·mim and Le·haʹbim and Naph·tuʹhim 14 and Path·ruʹsim and Cas·luʹhim (from among whom the Phi·lisʹtines went forth) and Caphʹto·rim. 15 And Caʹnaan became father to Siʹdon his firstborn and Heth 16 and the Jebʹu·site and the Amʹor·ite and the Girʹga·shite 17 and the Hiʹvite and the Arkʹite and the Siʹnite 18 and the Arʹvad·ite and the Zemʹa·rite and the Haʹmath·ite; and afterward the families of the Caʹnaan·ite were scattered. 19 So the boundary of the Caʹnaan·ite came to be from Siʹdon as far as Geʹrar, near Gaʹza, as far as Sodʹom and Go·morʹrah and Adʹmah and Ze·boiʹim, near Laʹsha. 20 These were the sons of Ham according to their families, according to their tongues, in their lands, by their nations.

21And to Shem, the forefather of all the sons of Eʹber, the brother of Jaʹpheth the oldest, there was also progeny born. 22 The sons of Shem were Eʹlam and Asʹshur and Ar·pachʹshad and Lud and Aʹram. 23 And the sons of Aʹram were Uz and Hul and Geʹther and Mash. 24 And Ar·pachʹshad became father to Sheʹlah, and Sheʹlah became father to Eʹber. 25 And to Eʹber there were two sons born. The name of the one was Peʹleg, because in his days the earth was divided; and the name of his brother was Jokʹtan. 26 And Jokʹtan became father to Al·moʹdad and Sheʹleph and Ha·zar·maʹveth and Jeʹrah 27 and Ha·doʹram and Uʹzal and Dikʹlah 28 and Oʹbal and A·bimʹa·el and Sheʹba 29 and Oʹphir and Havʹi·lah and Joʹbab; all these were the sons of Jokʹtan. 30 And their place of dwelling came to extend from Meʹsha as far as Seʹphar, the mountainous region of the East. 31 These were the sons of Shem according to their families, according to their tongues, in their lands, according to their nations. 32 These were the families of the sons of Noah according to their family descents, by their nations, and from these the nations were spread about in the earth after the deluge.

Verse 32 says that “from these the nations were spread about after the deluge.” The names of the descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japhet can be connected with geographical names. And this helps us to see how the different races arose. One of the most significant differences between the races is the color of the skin. The names of some of the ancestors of Ham show that people with black skin originated from him. I list the descendants of Ham connected with geographical names:

Cush: Ethiopia

     Havilah: Arabia

     Raamah: Persian Gulf

Mizraim: Egypt

     Ludim: Nubia

     Lehabim: Libya

     Patrishim: Pathros

     Cashluhites: Philistia

     Caphtorites: Crete

Put: Libya

Canaan: Canaanites

The article, “Africans in Ancient Greek Art” by Sean Hemingway and Colette Hemingway       says:

In fact, paintings in the tomb of Rekhmire, dated to the fourteenth century B.C., depict African and Aegean peoples, most likely Nubians and Minoans.[3]

According to the chronology of the Bible, the flood occurred in the year 2370 BCE. Because Ham was the father of both Kush of Kanaan and the Canaanites were not black people, Ham could hardly have had black skin. However, the names of some of his sons and the sons of his sons, show that some of these had black skin.

Because there is evidence of the existence of black people in the fourteenth century BCE, it took less than one thousand years for the Negroid (African) race to appear alongside the Caucasian (European) race.  Descendants of Ham migrated to Ethiopia. And when the members of this group married each other, which we can call “natural selective breeding,” their progeny after one or more generations got negroid traits and a black skin color because this was in the genes of Ham.

As I have shown above, Cush, the son of Ham, migrated to Ethiopia together with a few people who probably also were descendants of Ham. This means that the wife of Kush must have been his sister or his cousin. When close relatives, who have much of the same genes, marry, some genes of the children are activated, and the children get particular traits. This is “natural selective breeding.” It is selective because the breeding (having children) occurs among a small group of close relatives, and this breeding was something God wanted. It is natural because there are no others than the members of the small group of related humans that produce children.

In the case of Cush, who had a close relative as wife and in the case of his children and children’s children, where also close relatives got children, the negroid traits including the black skin were after some generations seen in the children. Today, it is forbidden for siblings to marry, and even when cousins get children, these children may have defects, because of the activating of the same genes. But after the flood, marriages between close relatives were necessary. And it was of course Jehovah’s purpose that different races should occur. That was the reason why he put the possibility of the different races in the genes of Adam and Eve. And because the members of small groups of humans got children with each other, the genes that caused different races were activated rather quickly.

In order to see the whole picture, we should also consider the pygmies in Southern Africa, the aborigines in Australia, and the native Yanomamo and Kayapo of the Amazon in Brazil. These people have traits that are very different from several other groups of humans. The reason for the traits of these groups is isolation that causes natural selective breeding. The ancestors of each of these families consisted of a small group of individuals who were isolated at a certain place. The individuals of these groups got children with each other, and these children again got children with other individuals of the same group. In this way, parts of their genes were activated, and this caused the different traits that the individuals of these groups have today.

The main point of this discussion is that the speciation  of human races occurred during a period of less than one thousand years. This shows that the speciation of the animals that went out of the Ark could happen rather quickly as well.


After the great flood, all the continents probably were landlocked. If all the present ice on the earth melted, the sea level would rise about 70 meters. There is evidence that because of temperature changes after the flood, the ice on the northern and the southern hemispheres immediately after the flood became much bigger than at present. This means that the level of the sea was much lower. Shorelines on the continental shelves down to 150 meters or more are found all over the world. The connection between America and Asia is the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia, and it has a depth of between 30 and 50 meters. This strait was clearly dry immediately after the flood.

Asia and Europe are landlocked by the lands in the Middle East. The Strait of Gibraltar is a connection between Europe and Asia, and its depth is between 300 and 900 meters. There is evidence that immediately after the flood, there were great changes in the crust of the earth; mountains were elevated and other parts of the land subsided.[4] One reason why we can believe that the Strait of Gibraltar was quite shallow and dry immediately after the flood is the evidence that the whole Mediterranean Ocean at one time in the past was completely dry without water. If the Strait of Gibraltar had not been much shallower, this would not have been possible because the water of the Atlantic Ocean would have filled the Mediterranean Ocean. So, it is likely that the Strait of Gibraltar was dry and was a land bridge between Europe and Africa immediately after the flood.

But what about Australia?  If you look at the map, you will see that between the Asian country Malaysia and Sumatra in Indonesia, there is a small strait, and there are only small straits between the islands of Indonesia until East Timor. East Timor is located 2,005 km from the Australian mainland, and between them is the Timor Sea with and average depth of 406 meter (1,332 feet) and a max depth 3,300 meter (10,800 feet). Evidence exists that the mountains of Himalaya have been elevated after the great flood, and that was caused by great upheavals in the crust of the earth. Evidence of this, is also the sunken continent Zealandia to the east of Australia, 1,000 meters (3,500 feet) below sea level, where there still is much volcanic activity. So, there is a good possibility that the Timor Sea and the straits between the Islands of Indonesia were dry immediately after the flood. Because of this, all the continents were landlocked, and the animals could freely migrate between the continents all over the world.

The evidence is clear that sometime after the flood, the ice in the northern and southern hemisphere began to melt, and the sea level rose to the present level. This means that there were no longer landbridges between Asia and America, and between Asia and Australia. This was important for the speciation of the animals that came out of the ark so new species could occur.

In connection with the Ark, God was the one who oversaw the situation. He told Noah the measures of the Ark, and he told Noah and his family when he should enter the Ark. Let us see what Genesis 7:11-16 says regarding the animals:

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on this day all the springs of the vast watery deep were broken open and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And the downpour upon the earth went on for forty days and forty nights. 13 On this very day Noah went in, and Shem and Ham and Jaʹpheth, Noah’s sons, and the wife of Noah and the three wives of his sons with him, into the ark; 14 they and every wild beast according to its kind, and every domestic animal according to its kind, and every moving animal that moves on the earth according to its kind, and every flying creature according to its kind, every bird, every winged creature. 15 And they kept going to Noah inside the ark, two by two, of every sort of flesh in which the force of life was active. 16 And those going in, male and female of every sort of flesh, went in, just as God had commanded him. After that Jehovah shut the door behind him.

It would of course have been impossible for Noah and his family to collect all the different animals, between 2,000 and 16,000 in number. So, it must have been the angels of God that led the right animals, male and female, to the ark. And all these animals entered the Ark in one day. It is important to keep in mind that the angels chose the correct animals because this would mean that these animals had the right genes for the speciation that God wanted to occur after the flood. Because there was only one pair of each animal kind, except for the clean animals, the offspring of these two had to breed with their brothers and sisters or cousins. As mentioned, when close relatives get children, there is the risk of bad effects on these children. But because the angels chose the animals, we must assume that they chose strong animals with genes that could cause different species.

I will use one example that clearly shows natural selective breeding based on isolation. After the flood, there were landbridges from Asia to Australia and Tasmania, and to New Guinea and nearby islands. One male and one female of the marsupial family Macropodidae (“the bigfooted ones”) came out of the Ark, and they migrated to Australia. They got offspring, and some of this offspring migrated to New Guinea and nearby islands and to Tasmania. When the ice melted after the flood, New Guinea and nearby islands and Australia and Tasmania were isolated by water, and before this, natural selective breeding started within several small groups. The results were 54 different species, including kangaroos, wallabies, tree-kangaroos, wallaroos, pademelons, and quokkas. Kangaroos are only found in Australia, and typical animals of the Asia mainland, such as bears, tigers, and rhinos are not found in Australia.[5]

Because all the 54 different species belong to the same family, and these species developed after the isolation of Australia, New Guinea, and Tasmania after the great flood, it is natural to believe that the two first members of the Macropodidae family came out of the Ark and were ancestors to all the other members of the family. Therefore, I use families as the taqxonomic rank from which the ancestors of the present species came and not genera as does Woodmorappe

We have a similar example with the 35 species in the dog family, Canidae. Biologists believe that the Grey Wolf was the ancestor of different wolves, coyotes, foxes, jackals, dingos, and domestic dogs in this family. When we see pictures of these animals, we see the similarity between them.

We also have an example in the 42 species of the cat family, Feliadae, such as lion, tiger, puma, cheta, wildcat, and domestic cat. When we look at these animals, we see that they are related. One basic difference is their size. When we know that 400 different kinds (breeds) of dogs have been developed during the last 150 years, and different races developed in less than one thousand years, it is not difficult to believe that the speciation of lions and cats, and the speciation of dogs, foxes, and coyotes, have occurred during the last 4,400 years. Neither the cat family nor the dog family have not been isolated as in the case of the Macropodidae in Australia. But the speciation of these families has occurred in many different countries.

The important point in our context is that because 400 kinds of dogs have developed in 150 years and the different races have developed in less than one thousand years, there are good reasons to believe that all the present species have developed from the animals that came out of the Ark in less than 4,400 years.




[4]. Evidence for great changes in the crust of the earth after the flood is found in my book, Can We Trust the Bible? With Focus on the Creation Account, the Worldwide Flood, and the Prophecies.

[5]. It is interesting that a recent study published in Science explains that the reason why Kangaroos are confined to Australia, is that Australia became isolated from the Asian mainland. But this isolation occurred 45 million years ago, according to the article. (


Most people today believe that the account of the great flood and the humans and animals that survived this flood are based on old myths. I have given the account of the animals in the Ark that survived the flood a close scrutiny, and the result is that everything the account says can be defended on the basis of scientific data. This means that the account has the hallmarks of being true history.

Between 2,000 and 16,000 animals may have been in the Ark for 371 days. The calculations of John Woodmorappe show that there was enough space in the Ark for 16,000 animals, for their food and drinking water, and that it was possible for eight people to take care of these animals during the flood.

The animals in the Ark were the ancestors of the 29,517 species of mammals, reptiles, and birds that exist today. The examples of 400 kinds of dogs that have developed during 150 years and the races of mankind that have developed during less than one thousand years  demonstrate that all the present living species could have developed in the less than 4,400 years since the great flood.

Rolf Furuli

Author Rolf Furuli

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