First, the Animals

The Biblical account tells us that all the animals on the planet today are the descendants of those that were on the ark. The common concept today is that 2 of every "species" were on the ark- but that is not the case. It would have been impossible for the ark to contain that many animals. Take, for example, the buffalo. It is a mammal of the family Bovidae, the order Artiodactyla. Artiodactyla, an order of mammals, have certain unique features, such as an even number of hoofed toes on each hindfoot. Included in this "order" are cattle, deer and pigs. Some chew the cud, some don't. Some have antlers, some don't. Of course, these subdivisions and classifications of animals are man-made based on our present knowledge. But there is evidence in Australia that many different species may very likely be the descendants of only TWO common ancestors that were on the ark, which will explain why there didn't have to be nearly as many animals with Noah as is commonly thought.

The "Marsupials"

Everyone is familiar with the very unique animals found in Australia that are found no where else on earth- most of these are what we call "marsupials", which are characterized by their premature birth and continued development while attached to the nipples on the lower belly of it's mother. Most of these have the familiar "pouch", or "marsupium", which is how they received their name. These include kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, koalas and a large number of rodent-like forms. In Australia and the islands surrounding them (in the areas once above water prior to the rise in sea-level) there are about 170 species of marsupials. The only other place on earth where marsupials are found are in South, Central and North America. Consisting of 2 families of about 65 to 70 species, all but one are found from Mexico to Argentina. Above Mexico to southern Canada is found only "Didelphis Marsupialis", our familiar "possum". Yet fossil remains of marsupials have been found all over the world- Europe, Africa, Asia, etc.

We don't know what the original animals were on the ark, but we DO know that they contained the gene-pool of every animal that would later exist on the earth. The few animals that made it to Australia before it was isolated included marsupials, as did those that made it to the Americas. The only other animals in Australia when the Europeans arrived were the dingo (wild dog), rat and bat. What does all of this tell us? It tells us that very few animals made the long trip from Turkey to Australia before the sea-level rose and isolated the continent. It also tells us that all the varied species of marsupials found there came from a very few common ancestors. It would be ludicrous to think that all those hundreds of various marsupial species made it to Australia while but a couple of other animals did.

Classification of Animals Based on "Evolution"

The term "species", "genus", "families", and etc. are terms coined by man to classify animals under a system (which is influenced by the theory of evolution). But, this entire system of animal classification was designed by "men", not God, and is therefore not reliable.

How does God classify animals? In the Biblical account, we read: 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 (behemah) 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. This passage shows us that God indicated only 3 main divisions of "every living thing of all flesh" (animals) that were to come on the ark- fowls (birds), "behemah" (NOT strictly cattle, but more accurately "beasts") and the "creeping thing".

All God tells us is that His 3 divisions of "living things of all flesh" are fowls, beasts and creeping animals. Within each category, He told Noah to take 2 of each "after his kind". That's it. That's all we are told. We simply don't know what the original "kind" were, no matter what geneticists and other scientists today may tell us. I suspect that we would all be VERY surprised to learn what the original animals were on the ark.