What are the first animals that come to mind when you think of Noah’s Ark? The popular “bathtub arks” in children’s books inevitably show elephants and giraffes bulging out the sides or top of a severely undersized ship. If there is any remaining space, monkeys, lions, hippos, and horses also make frequent appearances in these fairy tale arks.
At the Ark Encounter we must think carefully about the creatures that were sent to Noah. We need to account for every land animal—those that are still living as well as those that went extinct. For biblical creationists, this often brings to mind the mighty dinosaurs that found their way to the Ark. Yet Noah cared for plenty of other marvelous animals God made that most people have never heard of, and Thylacosmilus was one such creature.
Not to be confused with the popular saber-toothed cat, Thylacosmilus also featured two long canines giving it a saber-toothed appearance. Weighing an estimated 200–250 pounds, these leopard-sized beasts are thought to have been top predators in their South American habitats. Like marsupials, Thylacosmilus is classified as a Metatherian, but it is not known if they had a pouch.
This creature’s unique jaw structure made for a difficult sculpting process for our talented artistic team. In fact, sculpting it with an open mouth practically doubled the amount of time spent on making this magnificent animal. But as always, our designers were up to the task.
Thylacosmilus is just one of many incredible creatures being crafted to display at the Ark Encounter. Yet no matter how spectacular our Ark animals look, they can never match the beauty and majesty our awesome God instilled in His creation.