Noah was not tasked with taking every single species on the whole planet. If you look at the animals that were taken in Genesis 6, they are all vertebrates. Vertebrates only compose about 3% of all the animal species in the world.
How Many Animal Species Inhabit Our Planet?
Of this 3%, there were NO water dwelling species taken. Of that fraction, only KINDS of animals were taken (Gen. 6:20) – because animal species are grouped into kinds called genera:
“Genera: The usual major subdivision of a family or subfamily in the classification of organisms, usually consisting of more than one species
Animals on the Ark:
“There are currently 1,260 genera, 156 families, 29 orders, and exactly 5,877 species of described mammal, all in a single class.”
Estimated Number of Animal and Plant Species
Total Mammal Genera: 1,260
- about a third clean (approx. 416 clean) = total of 2,912 animals
- about two thirds unclean (approx. 844 unclean) = total of 1,688 animals
Total land mammals = 4,600 approx
(the following numbers based on species Genera information derived from Wikipedia)
Total Bird Genera: approx. 1,627
- about a third clean (approx. 542) by seven’s = 3,794 clean birds
- about two thirds unclean (approx. 1085) by two’s = 2,170 unclean birds
Total birds = 5,964 approx.
Reptiles and Amphibians:
Reptile genera – approx. 175 genera (none clean)
Amphibians – approx. 86 genera (none clean)
Total = 261 Genera
Total Reptiles and Amphibians = 522 approx.
Ant genera: 374, Beetle genera: 437, Hymenoptera genera: 55, Lepidoptera genera: 3, Moth Genera: 66, Monotypic insect genera: 76, Other Insect Genera: 30, Extinct Insect genera: 104
Total Insect Genera = 1,145
Total Insects = at least 2,290 (Likely much more)
Dinosaur genera: about 300 (none clean)
How many types of dinosaurs are known?
Total Dinosaurs = 600
There were an unknown number of Genera (including dinosaurs) of all creatures that are nowadays extinct but were on board Noah’s Ark.
Let’s assume that about 10% of these creature genera are now extinct:
126 extinct genera - a third (42) clean by sevens (total = 294), two thirds (84) unclean by twos (total = 168).
Possible total of Now Extinct mammals on Noah’s Ark = 462
163 extinct genera (a third (54) clean by sevens = 378 birds and two thirds (109) unclean by two = 218 birds.
Possible Total of Now Extinct Birds on Noah’s Ark = 596
Reptiles and Amphibians
20 extinct genera (all by twos)
Possible Total of Now extinct Reptiles and Amphibians on Noah’s Ark = 40
Possible Complete Total of extinct Genera = 1,643 creatures and 728 insects
Total animals on Ark – estimated: 13,329 – 14,000
- with at least an additional 2,290 insects (probably many more).**
Could all these creatures fit in the Ark?
Genesis 6:15 - "The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high."
Royal cubit being used here is well known as being 20.62 inches, examples of cubit rods can be seen in British museum and Louvre, France.
Measurement system (Encyclopedia Britannica).
- Ark Length = 300 Cubits (157.14 meters) (515.58 feet)
- Ark Height = 30 Cubits (15.71 meters) (51.56 feet)
- Ark Width = 50 cubits (26.19 meters) (85.93 feet)
- Ark: 15,000 square cubits per floor (44,303.79 square feet)
- 3 floors = (44,303.79x3)
Ark’s total floor space = 132,911.37 square feet (about 2.3 standard American football fields).
The land mammals that were taken on board would have been young ones just entering or nearing the beginning of their breeding cycle – not the fully grown adults.
Birds take up very little space and were all kept in small cages or aviaries. Many types of birds have no problem living in the same place. Birds were represented in the most numbers on the Ark with 38% of all the animals being birds compared to 17% mammals.
The reptiles and amphibians are likewise very small and could be kept in small enclosures that could even be stacked on top of each other as the ark had a very high floor height.
The insects themselves would have taken up very little room also and could have been protected in little enclosures. Many other insects and eggs would naturally have come in with the food and animals.
It is estimated that these animals would only take up about 47% of the available space on the Ark leaving PLEANTY of room for food, water and other supplies.