[Editor’s Note (July 2016): See the latest research by AiG’s Ark Encounter researchers on Ark animals, size, logistics, and other details at ArkEncounter.com.]
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 4,300 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 Get Answers: 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:
- 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 of normal length, and did not represent long periods of time (see Get Answers: Genesis).
- We are told God created the first man and woman—Adam and Eve—on Day 6, along with the land animals (which would have included dinosaurs).
- 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 2,000 years ago), we can conclude that the universe is only a few thousand years old (perhaps just 6,000), and not millions of years old (see also “Did Jesus Say He Created in Six Literal Days?”). Thus, dinosaurs lived within the past few thousand years.
So, Were Dinosaurs on the Ark?
In Genesis 6:19–20, the Bible says that two of every sort of land vertebrate (seven of the “clean” animals) were brought by God to the Ark. Therefore, dinosaurs (land vertebrates) were represented on the Ark.
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. Furthermore, not all dinosaurs were huge like the Brachiosaurus, and even those dinosaurs on the Ark were probably “teenagers” or young adults.
Dogs, wolves, and coyotes are probably from a single canine “kind,” so hundreds of different dogs were not needed.
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 as a maximum number. 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 510 x 85 x 51 feet, with a volume of about 2.21 million cubic feet. Researchers have shown that this is the equivalent volume of over 500 semitrailers of space.1
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).
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. “Was There Really a Noah’s Ark & Flood?” covers these particular “problems” related to Noah’s Flood, and Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study covers these and more in detail.