The Bible says that God told Noah to take two of every kind of animal on the ark and seven pairs of the clean animals and flying creatures.
Does this mean every species was on the ark? No. Species is a term used in the modern classification system. The Bible uses the term “kind.” The created kind was a much broader category than the modern classification term, species.
The biblical concept of created “kind” probably most closely corresponds to the family level in the current taxonomy. A good rule of thumb is that if two things can breed together, they are of the same created kind. It is a bit more complicated, but this is a good quick measure of a “kind.”
There can be a tremendous amount of variation within a created kind. For example, various types of dogs, such as wolves, dingoes, coyotes, jackals, and domestic dogs, can often breed with one another. When dogs breed together, you get dogs—so there is a dog kind.
So, what are the biblical kinds of animals that were on Noah’s ark? How many were there? And how could only eight people possibly care for all of them? In this episode of The Genesis Account of Noah’s Ark, Calvin Smith answers these questions and more.
The Bible states that Noah’s cargo was limited to land-dwelling animals, in which was the breath of life (Genesis 7:15). This clearly excludes fish and other sea creatures, and it probably excludes insects and other invertebrates.
Recent studies estimate the total number of living and extinct kinds of land animals and flying creatures to be 1,398. With our “worst-case” scenario approach to calculating the number of animals on the ark, this would mean that Noah cared for 6,744 animals.
Learn more about this topic and more when you visit our life-size Noah’s Ark. Start planning your trip today!