Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Caring for all of the animals would have been impossible

This question raises a whole host of issues that don’t have satisfactory answers.

Many animals require very specialized diets. Koala bears, for example, only eat eucalyptus leaves. How was that food accumulated and stored?

Many animals require fresh food. Food on a large ship in a humid, poorly-ventilated environment for a year would surely spoil and be infested with pests. Note that there were no refrigerators around. How was the food kept fresh?

Many animals require exercise. How was that accomplished in such a confined area?

How were the waste materials handled? There would have been many tons of manure produced each and every day.

Note that all of this care and feeding was accomplished with a crew of only eight people.

The American Zoo Association (AZA) publishes recommendations[1] for staff sizes depending on the number of animals to be cared for. They distinguish between vertebrates and invertebrates. (Invertebrates lack a “vertebral column” – commonly called a backbone. They are animals like worms and insects that generally take less care than vertebrates. Most invertebrates live in water.)Here are some statistics for AZA-accredited institutions.

Smallest zoo: 20 animals (6 species)
Smallest staff: six.
Animal-to-staff ratio: 3.3:1

Largest zoo: 12,907 animals (824 species)
Largest staff: 1,390.
Animal-to-staff ratio: 9.3:1 (These include vertebrate as well as invertebrate animals.)
Vertebrate animal-to-staff-number ratio at the National Zoo: 7.8:1.

None of these zoos have a ratio of more than ten vertebrates per staff member.

Of course modern zoos are also staffed with many people who have college and advanced degrees in animal behavior and biology, including at least one veterinarian at even the smallest zoo. They also have access to modern equipment and medicines.

On modern farms, it is possible to have as many as 86 animals per farm worker[2].

That’s only because all of the animals are the same species with the same diet, etc. But even that figure falls far short of what would be required of Noah and his family.Noah's family of eight people could realistically take care of no more than 500 animals in total. Even that is stretching it dramatically.

Creationists would have us believe that Noah and each member of his family - all apparently non-professionals certainly without any modern equipment and medicines - was able to care for thousands of individuals species of animals individually.

That is simply not possible.

[1], referenced on May 8, 2008
[2], referenced on May 8, 2008

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