According to John Woodmorappe’s “Noah’s Ark: A feasibility study”, not a whole lot of animals were required to be on board the Ark in order to get to the animal position where we are today. According to his calculations, there would be enough with about 16,000 animals on the Ark and those animals would be the ancestors to the myriads of animals that we see around us today. We must remember that wolves, dogs, coyotes, dingoes, etc, all belong to the same “animal family” and could have been included in the Biblical “kind”.
The Bible, the book of Enoch, the book of Jasher and the book of Jubilees (to mention a few) all mention the time of the flood and both the antediluvian and postdiluvian periods. As Christians, it is the Bible that we view as the inspired word of God, but it is possible that the book of Enoch and the book of Jasher (both mentioned in the Bible) also contain much truth or even close to the whole truth since they confirm the Bible albeit with some more details. Therefore it is not totally illogical to use such books when speculating on what might have happened on earth about 4,600 years ago.
After the flood on Ararat:
Gen. 9:17 Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.
The reason for the global flood
According to many historical sources (including the Jewish historian Josephus) giants were actually born through the marriages between angels and human females. Wickedness escalated to enormous proportions during this time, and eventually “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”. The flesh was corrupt, and that probably did not mean only thoughts and actions but the flesh itself was actually – as the word implies – corrupt. The book of Enoch explains, not only the ungodly mixture of angels and human beings which produced giants, but also the unlawful mixture and experiments between animal groups (and between human beings and animals). You can read the details in the book of Enoch, but here comes the Biblical version:
Gen. 6:1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.3 And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.6 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.7 And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.—11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
There is information about the construction of the Ark also in the previously mentioned books, but I settle with the Bible.
Gen. 6:14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.15 And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.
What animals to bring
It is quite possible for God to have given Noah general instructions to start with, and God could have provided Noah with more detailed instructions when it was actually time to gather the animals and eventually get on board the Ark. It is also possible that it is rather the author who first makes a general description (and ends with the information that Noah is always obedient), and proceeds to make a more detailed description when the general outline had been sufficiently covered. (The same goes for the creation story in Gen 1 and 2.) My point is that the none of the instructions are contradictory but rather supplementary.
Gen. 6:19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
Gen. 7: 1 And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.5 And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him.6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.8 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth,9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.10 And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;14 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.
After the flood on Ararat:
Gen. 9:19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.20 And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
The book of Jubilees about Ark:
Ch. 5 And Noah made the ark in all respects as He commanded him, in the twenty-seventh jubilee of years, in the fifth week in the fifth year (on the new moon of the first month). And he entered in the sixth (year) thereof, in the second month, on the new moon of the second month, till the sixteenth; and he entered, and all that we brought to him, into the ark, and the Lord closed it from without on the seventeenth evening. And the Lord opened seven flood-gates of heaven, And the mouths of the fountains of the great deep, seven mouths in number. And the flood-gates began to pour down water from the heaven forty days and forty nights, And the fountains of the deep also sent up waters, until the whole world was full of water. And the waters increased upon the earth: Fifteen cubits did the waters rise above all the high mountains, And the ark was lift up above the earth, And it moved upon the face of the waters.And the water prevailed on the face of the earth five months -one hundred and fifty days. And the ark went and rested on the top of Lubar, one of the mountains of Ararat.
Gen. 9:2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
Based on the Bible, it appears as though the animals’ nature slightly changed after the flood (Gen. 9:2) since they started to fear man. This newly acquired nature became rather useful considering that human beings from this point onward were allowed to kill and eat animals. (At least some people killed and ate animals also before the flood, but not according to God’s commandments.) Based on the book of Jasher, animals also adapted a slightly new nature shortly before great flood commenced! According to this book, the animals were somehow attracted to the Ark (maybe God miraculously arranged so that the Ark had a certain odor attached to it) and they sought to come near it. Some of them behaved in a peculiar way before Noah, and their crouching before him was a signal for him to bring those particular animals on board the Ark. The book of Jasher does not promise that all animals under the sun were around the Ark, but perhaps only those animals that lived relatively close and were able to make it in time. We must also remember that the earth’s landscape could have looked entirely different before the flood, and it is possible that all land masses were connected.
Gen. 10:25 And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.
Book of Jasher Ch.10:19 These are the generations of Shem; Shem begat Arpachshad and Arpachshad begat Shelach, and Shelach begat Eber and to Eber were born two children, the name of one was Peleg, for in his days the sons of men were divided, and in the latter days, the earth was divided.
Here is what the book of Jasher says about the boarding of the Ark and the behavior of the animals shortly before the flood:
Ch. 6:1 At that time, after the death of Methuselah, the Lord said to Noah, Go thou with thy household into the ark; behold I will gather to thee all the animals of the earth, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and they shall all come and surround the ark.2 And thou shalt go and seat thyself by the doors of the ark, and all the beasts, the animals, and the fowls, shall assemble and place themselves before thee, and such of them as shall come and crouch before thee, shalt thou take and deliver into the hands of thy sons, who shall bring them to the ark, and all that will stand before thee thou shalt leave.3 And the Lord brought this about on the next day, and animals, beasts and fowls came in great multitudes and surrounded the ark.4 And Noah went and seated himself by the door of the ark, and of all flesh that crouched before him, he brought into the ark, and all that stood before him he left upon earth.
Some of the animals seemed adamant about getting on board the Ark, and they acted according to their new instinct:
Ch. 6:5 And a lioness came, with her two whelps, male and female, and the three crouched before Noah, and the two whelps rose up against the lioness and smote her, and made her flee from her place, and she went away, and they returned to their places, and crouched upon the earth before Noah.6 And the lioness ran away, and stood in the place of the lions.7 And Noah saw this, and wondered greatly, and he rose and took the two whelps, and brought them into the ark.8 And Noah brought into the ark from all living creatures that were upon earth, so that there was none left but which Noah brought into the ark.9 Two and two came to Noah into the ark, but from the clean animals, and clean fowls, he brought seven couples, as God had commanded him.10 And all the animals, and beasts, and fowls, were still there, and they surrounded the ark at every place, and the rain had not descended till seven days after.
Sometimes terrifying things can cause people to reevaluate their bad habits and seek God, but when it comes to the people in the antediluvian world they did not cease to do evil but continued to mock God. Just like the situation in many secular societies today, people before the flood questioned God’s existence! If they did acknowledge his existence, they were angry at him.
Ch. 6:11 And on that day, the Lord caused the whole earth to shake, and the sun darkened, and the foundations of the world raged, and the whole earth was moved violently, and the lightning flashed, and the thunder roared, and all the fountains in the earth were broken up, such as was not known to the inhabitants before; and God did this mighty act, in order to terrify the sons of men, that there might be no more evil upon earth.12 And still the sons of men would not return from their evil ways, and they increased the anger of the Lord at that time, and did not even direct their hearts to all this.13 And at the end of seven days, in the six hundredth year of the life of Noah, the waters of the flood were upon the earth.14 And all the fountains of the deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened, and the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.15 And Noah and his household, and all the living creatures that were with him, came into the ark on account of the waters of the flood, and the Lord shut him in.
It was not until it was too late – when God had already closed the door of the Ark – when people started to approach the Ark wanting to get on board due to the never-ceasing rain. The large amount of desperate people could not come close enough to the Ark due to the animals still surrounding it! Why did so many animals still surround the Ark? Possibly because they still had their animal children on board, and their instinct told them to protect the Ark from intruders who might harm their children. In this way, the animals prevented the crowds from breaking into the Ark because they viewed them as a threat. According to the book of Jasher, it was around 700.000 desperate people who eventually assembled to be close to the only source of salvation that was available – the Ark. Unfortunately they acted too late, and despite their great number they still did not manage to find a way to break into the Ark. The aggressive animals were in the way, the weather condition was chaotic and they might even have lacked proper tools.
Ch. 6:16 And all the sons of men that were left upon the earth, became exhausted through evil on account of the rain, for the waters were coming more violently upon the earth, and the animals and beasts were still surrounding the ark.17 And the sons of men assembled together, about seven hundred thousand men and women, and they came unto Noah to the ark.18 And they called to Noah, saying, Open for us that we may come to thee in the ark–and wherefore shall we die?19 And Noah, with a loud voice, answered them from the ark, saying, Have you not all rebelled against the Lord, and said that he does not exist? and therefore the Lord brought upon you this evil, to destroy and cut you off from the face of the earth.20 Is not this the thing that I spoke to you of one hundred and twenty years back, and you would not hearken to the voice of the Lord, and now do you desire to live upon earth?21 And they said to Noah, We are ready to return to the Lord; only open for us that we may live and not die.22 And Noah answered them, saying, Behold now that you see the trouble of your souls, you wish to return to the Lord; why did you not return during these hundred and twenty years, which the Lord granted you as the determined period?23 But now you come and tell me this on account of the troubles of your souls, now also the Lord will not listen to you, neither will he give ear to you on this day, so that you will not now succeed in your wishes.24 And the sons of men approached in order to break into the ark, to come in on account of the rain, for they could not bear the rain upon them.25 And the Lord sent all the beasts and animals that stood round the ark. And the beasts overpowered them and drove them from that place, and every man went his way and they again scattered themselves upon the face of the earth.26 And the rain was still descending upon the earth, and it descended forty days and forty nights, and the waters prevailed greatly upon the earth; and all flesh that was upon the earth or in the waters died, whether men, animals, beasts, creeping things or birds of the air, and there only remained Noah and those that were with him in the ark.