Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another kind of load

The discussion of Noah's ark on Pharyngula brings to mind a topic that I have mused on before, but which people who know more biology than me might actually be able to take a stab at.

Just what would be the parasite load that all the people and animals on an ark would have to entertain? Some of the parasites that humans and our vertebrate and invertebrate kin are subject to are freaking nasty.

Would Noah's family have even been able to survive 7 months (or maybe 10 - the inspired word of god isn't sure on such things) with two of each kind of parasite (or was it seven) that couldn't be carried by their animals?. Or would they and the animals all be simultaneously blind, crippled, malnourished, crazy and dead?

"Conservatives trust the government with tanks and nuclear weapons but not to hand out cheese to poor people" - Jon Stewart to Mike Huckabee, on conservative "small government" hypocrisy

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not entirely related to the exact question, but it's related to noah's ark in general and something most people seem to gloss over.

There is absolutely no way all the fish and water creatures would've survived. Most, if not all, would've died.

The sheer volume of water required to globally raise the water levels to cover all land would have decimated the water creatures. The PH change alone would've killed off millions. The pressure change at the bottom (for bottom feeders and the like) would've killed them off. The dilution of salt water would've killed off millions of salt water animals. The temperature change would've killed off all warm-water creatures.

All of these creatures dying off would decimate the animals that are actually left alive by completely ruining the ecology. Everything would've died.

Then again, some people claim that water dwelling animals were brought onto the ark too. But that just makes the whole size issue even more hilarious (plus the fact that it's significantly difficult to keep many fish in aquariums nowadays; with no heaters etc... it would be impossible).

More on topic, yes. All of the parasites (and bacteria, and viruses) that would've been brought on board would have completely decimated the population, unless god himself actively took steps to prevent it (i.e. a miracle). But that just raises the question of why the ark was needed.