A team of science students set out to prove that the seemingly impossible story of Noah’s Ark could have actually taken place.
The biblical story suggests that a man named Noah built a giant Ark and was able to fit two of every single animal on earth inside of the vessel, to protect them from a global flood.
Students at the University of Leicester used the dimensions and conditions described in the bible to determine whether or not such a task would be possible. For the dimensions of the boat, the researchers discovered in Genesis 6:13-22, that the ship was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high.
A “cubit” is a unit of measurement once used in the ancient world, which varied slightly from culture to culture. Among ancient Egyptians and Hebrews, a cubit was roughly 48.2cm, which means that if it existed, the Ark would have been about 144 meters long.
Benjamin Jordan, one of the student researchers involved with the project, says that the team estimated that an Ark of the size described in the bible could actually hold all of the animals that existed on earth at the time.
“Using the dimensions of the Ark and the density of the water, we were able to calculate its buoyancy force, which, according to Archimedes’ principle, is equal to the weight of the volume of fluid the object displaces. This meant we were then able to estimate the total mass the Ark could support before the gravitational weight would overcome the buoyancy force, causing the Ark to sink,” Jordan says, according to the Independent.
Thomas Morris, another participant in the project, noted that they did not prove that the story of the Ark actually happened, only that the concept described in the bible was theoretically possible.
“You don’t think of the Bible necessarily as a scientifically accurate source of information, so I guess we were quite surprised when we discovered it would work. We’re not proving that it’s true, but the concept would definitely work,” Morris said.
However, the researchers were not entirely sure about all of the details in the design and had to make some guesses along the way. The team was unsure what the”gopher wood” described in the bible actually was, so they made an educated guess and picked cypress wood, although there is no clear evidence showing exactly which type of wood was used.
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The students involved in the study also cautioned that there were many other variables that were not accounted for in their research, including whether or not the living conditions on the boat would actually be feasible for that many animals, or how cramped space would be inside of the vessel.
The researchers really only determined how much the animals would theoretically weigh, and show that the same amount of weight could be held by a boat with the Ark’s specifications.
The research was published by the University of Leicester