From early childhood most of us have been familiar with some version of Noah and the Ark. Nursery mobiles and church wallpapers typically display adorable and cuddly elephants, giraffes, and lions along with a cute little boat. Children's storybooks often add pandas, anteaters, or other exotic animals from around the world, which expand our vision of the Ark's wonders. It's usually not until later in life that we begin to carefully read the details of the Genesis account of the Flood and discover just how big the Ark really was. But the thrill of discovery doesn’t end there.
As we learn more about animal classifications from biology class, our simplistic mental picture of the Ark gets shaken up even more. We discover that many related species belong to the same family and can breed together. The Bible says God sent "kinds," not species, onto the Ark. What if that pair of prancing horses in our favorite Ark illustration never stood next to a pair of wild zebras? After all, both are equids and can breed together; so both must belong to the same kind. Genesis 6:19 says God sent only one pair of each (unclean) kind onto the Ark.
The surprises don't end there. As we learn about extinct animals like dinosaurs, we realize that Noah must have brought these fascinating creatures on board, too. It seems the more we learn about the world and consider how the Bible makes sense of it all, the more our vision of the Ark grows.