Greenpeace volunteers build a modern day version of the legendary Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey May 21, 2007 as part of a project to draw attention to global warming. REUTERS/Fatih Saribas (TURKEY)The story of Noah’s Ark in The Bible is widely read as an allegory and discoveries of a stunning range of species of wildlife raise questions, for those who believe in the account as literal truth, about how they all crammed aboard.

The total number of species of animals and plants on the planet, according to biologists, may well range up to the tens of millions. About 1.8 million have been identified so far – many of them are plants and fish that Noah did not take along to escape the flood, according to the Book of Genesis.

Even the Ark, with its three decks, would have quickly filled if Noah took at least two of all living creatures as God instructed Noah in the Book of Genesis. 

Modern maritime standards are that cows, for instance, need about 2 square metres each on ocean voyages in pens of about half a dozen. The Ark was about 140 metres (460 feet) long — the world’s biggest container ships are now almost 400 metres long.

One 2004 poll showed that 60 percent of Americans read the story of Noah’s Ark as literally true.