2017-08-10 / Outdoors

Lessons from Noah’s Ark

We have all heard of Noah’s Ark and how he was instructed to build it. He was also instructed to take two of each creature aboard to ready for the 40 days and 40 nights of rain. Two of each creature — one male, one female — were needed so that the species would survive. It is not known how many species there were in those biblical times or if this great flood was worldwide. Looking at this on a lighter note, we can assume the unicorns apparently did not make it aboard.

Evolution is a process that, biologically, is difficult to trace to a beginning (at least, scientifically speaking). This is a constantly changing world and new creatures and species are being discovered even in today’s modern world. While some species have gone extinct (like the dodo bird), the current amount of species catalogued number about 8.7 million. Not all are large like lions, tigers and bears. Some of these creatures are smaller than the width of a human hair. Insects are by far the most populous creatures. (Just stand outside in the evening, and you will be covered in mosquitoes.)

It is not known what creatures were on the ark, but some living species were made for the marine environment, so these did not need to be collected. As for taking animals, not all were large, mature adults. Some were younger and took up less room. It is thought that 50,000 animals could have fit on the ark. This may seem like an impossible number, but let’s look at it as if we were in grade school as kids.

If the average size of an animal would be the size of a sheep, and we wanted to use a train for transportation, we could fit about 240 sheep in a double-deck railroad car. It would take about 200-plus cars being pulled by several engines to haul 50,000 sheep. According to records of the size of the ark, this would leave about 50 percent of the rest of the space for supply items as well as the eight people in Noah’s family.

Note: If you watch the weather report and flooding is expected, and you notice one of your neighbors building a really big boat, be sure to make good friends with him.

Our changing environment has created situations where a species cannot survive and will become extinct. New species that have successfully adapted over time will continually take their place. Our Earth changes, becoming warmer or cooler and, with these changes, our water levels rise or fall. Looking back through archeological and geographical records prove this to be true. Since our Earth’s last Ice Age about 21,000 years ago, sea levels have risen 120 meters (more than 350 feet) to the current levels of today.

An occurrence called a “Melt-Water Pulse 1A” was one of the most important events of the last deglaciation. This is a short, rapid melt of polar ice. We currently experience a 3mm rise per year, but during a 1A Pulse-Melt, this could increase to 40mm per year.

In all, research obtained from coral reefs around the world tells the history of more or less freshwater influx from melting ice caps. This is much the same as studying tree rings to get the history of nature.

Half of our world’s population live on the coast, or less than 100 miles from a coastline. One-tenth of the population live less than 30 feet above sea level as it is today. Nature has a way of balancing and adapting. Is our world changing around us? Yes, without a doubt, but it always has. Some changes take hundreds of thousands of years; others take only a few short moments. Our best chance for survival is to adapt and learn about our world. Nature will help us do that. We all are part of this change. Will you be part of the problem or part of the solution as we strive to enjoy our great outdoors in the future?

Fair winds; calm seas. ¦

— Capt. Dennis Kirk has been traveling the Peace River since 1979. His life adventures are written from various chapters in his three decades of experience in Southwest Florida. He is part owner of the Nav-A-Gator, a riverfront restaurant and marina in Lake Suzy, just off Kings Highway. For more information, call 627- 3474.

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