Bible Question:

There are thousands upon thousands of fossils of creatures and some are gigantic. Some gigantic animals lived on this earth in the past. Was it impossible for two of every kind of the gigantic dinosaurs to enter the ark? I see where God commanded that of every creature that was living then two of each were to go into the ark. Based on the reality of the massive fossil record, this was impossible! I have done the calculations.

Bible Answer:

Is it laughable to think that two of every type of dinosaur were able to fit on Noah’s ark? Some people think so. Critics have long attacked this concept because they have missed the obvious. The question we are concerned with is, “Were gigantic dinosaurs able to live on the ark?”

Everything Was Good

Capacity of Noah’s Ark

Our first step is to determine the capacity of the ark that Noah and his sons built.  God directed Noah to build an ark that was three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. Genesis 6:14-16 provides the dimensions.

Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. Genesis 6:14-16 (NASB)

It is important to note that the Babylonians, Egyptians and Hebrews had different cubits.[1] The Hebrews had the smallest cubit of 17.5 inches. If this cubit is used, the dimensions of the ark become 437.5 feet long, 72.92 wide and 43.75 feet high.  This gives us 1,395,670.6 cubic feet. This means the height between decks was probably about 14.5 feet. According to John Witcomb, the ark had 95,700 square feet of deck area and a total storage space of about 13,960 tons.[2] The authors demonstrate that the capacity of the ark was enough to carry all the species that God brought to the ark when they made this comment,

This means that at least 240 animals of the size of sheep could be accommodated in a standard two-decked stock car. Two trains haul­ing 73 such cars each would thus be ample to carry the 35,000 ani­mals. We have already seen that the Ark had a carrying capacity equivalent to that of 522 stock cars of this size! We therefore find that a few simple calculations dispose of this trivial objection once and for all.[3]

Extensive information is provided in the authors’ book relating to the ark’s capacity. The above data demonstrates that the ark was large enough to house all of the animals, including Noah’s family.

There has been significant research performed by scientists who are Christians. Answers In Genesis has a team of highly educated scientists who have investigated the evolution claims and compared those claims to the archaeological data. Regarding dinosaurs on the ark, they report,

The Bible states that two of every kind of land animal and seven of some went onto the Ark. It doesn’t say two of every species went onto the Ark but “kinds.” There are thousands of species of dinosaurs, but there are only about fifty families of dinosaurs. And since the biblical kind is thought to correspond to the family level in most cases, there would have been only about one hundred dinosaurs on the Ark—not thousands.

For instance, there are many different long-neck sauropods, such as Brachiosaurus, Camarasaurus, Saltasaurus, and Diplodocus, but only two needed to go onto the Ark if they were just one kind. This fact dramatically reduces the estimated number of dinosaurs on the Ark. Also, even though some dinosaurs grew to be large creatures, the average size was only about the size of a large sheep or bison. Even the largest dinosaurs were quite small when hatched. The Lord may have selected younger (and therefore smaller) representatives of some of the larger kinds, so there was plenty of room for all of the dinosaur kinds aboard the Ark.[4]

Please note that most dinosaurs were not gigantic. This means the constraints on the ark were less than some imagine.

Dinosaurs Were Big Too!

Before we explore the issue of gigantic dinosaurs on the ark, it is important to note that everything was gigantic relative to the sizes of today’s animals, plants and people. [5] But after the flood, animals, plants and people progressively decreased in size. For an example, notice that when the twelve spies of Israel visited the Valley of Eshcol, they found gigantic grapes.

And they came to the Valley of Eshcol and cut down from there a branch with a single cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a pole between two of them; they also brought some pomegranates and figs. Numbers 13:23 (NASB)

It took two men to carry a single cluster of grapes back to the Israelites. This means that plant life was still large but not gigantic. This is the result of the water canopy mentioned in Genesis 1:6-7 disappearing when God caused it to break up at the time of the flood (Genesis 7:11). The water was needed to cover the land mass. After the flood the canopy was not present to block the sun’s radiation and protect the animals, plants and people. Consequently, things were no longer as large or gigantic after the flood.

Now the obvious question is: how could gigantic dinosaurs be on the ark when the height between the decks was about 14.5 feet? The answer is rather simple. Baby or very young dinosaurs would have satisfied the requirement. They would have also consumed less food and water. Further, God may have put them in a state of hibernation. God has the power to do that.

Conclusion:

No, gigantic dinosaurs were not on the ark. Instead, most likely baby dinosaurs were on the ark. This would satisfy all of the requirements mandated by God. In Genesis 1 God repeatedly stated that everything was good (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). The animals, plants and people were good or of excellent quality.  Everything grew large as evidenced by the fossil record.[6]

References:

1. R. B. Y. Scott. “Weights and Measures of the Bible.” The Biblical Archaeologists. vol. XXII. number 2. May 1959. pp. 22-27.
2. John Witcomb and Henry Morris. The Genesis Flood. baker Book House. 1961. pp. 1011.
3. Ibid., p.69.
4. Buddy Davis. “Dinosaurs on the Ark.” Answers In Genesis. February 24, 2010.
5. John MacKay. Monsters God Made. Creation Research International. DVD. 72 minutes.
6. Ibid.

Suggested Links:

The Monsters God Made
Does Genesis 1:2 describe a gargantuan disaster of a previous creation? — GAP Theory
Dinosaurs on the Ark
Caring for the Animals on the Ark
The Ark’s Dinosaurs
The Young Old Earth
Does the Bible say the earth is about 6000 years old?
Can one believe in the big bang theory and be a Christian?
Is there a gap between the first and second verse of Genesis 1?