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How Did Animals Migrate to Australia and North America After the Flood?

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If Noah’s ark landed in Ararat after the Flood, how did animals migrate around the world—including to areas separated by wide oceans?

In other words, how did kangaroos get to Australia? How did penguins get to Antarctica? And how did polar bears get to North America?

These are common questions, and sometimes skeptics use them to try to undermine biblical creation.

But the truth is, these questions don’t poke holes in a biblical worldview. There are several practical ways animals could have migrated across oceans.

Animals Floated on Post-Flood Debris

In 1963, a volcano erupted off of Iceland’s coast, forming the island of Surtsey. Within six months, a few bacteria, molds, insects, and birds had made their way to the island. Similarly, on the tropical Pacific island of Krakatoa, a volcanic eruption brought new grass species, insects, and vertebrates within a year.

Over the next several decades, hundreds of other species had made their way to these two islands. They could’ve been driven by wind, carried over by birds, or floated over on debris.

The same thing likely happened with nonflying animals after the Flood. Floating debris (such as uprooted trees) from the global catastrophe of Noah’s day could’ve transported animals to various islands and continents separated by water.

Humans Brought Animals on Boats

Another explanation is that humans brought some animal species with them on boats.

For example, research by Savolainen et al. suggests that all Australian dingoes are descended from one female domesticated dog from Southeast Asia. It’s likely that this single female dog was brought by humans to Australia, leading to the continent’s diverse dingo population.

Could ancient man have built boats big enough to carry animals? Yes! Remember, Noah and his sons built the ark, so certainly their descendants could have constructed sturdy boats, too. In fact, many ancient boats were actually quite large and impressive, according to Larry Pierce.

Animals Crossed Land Bridges During the Ice Age

The Global Flood may have triggered an Ice Age a few hundred years later. The severe changes in climate likely resulted in certain species’ extinction as well as forced many animal populations to migrate to warmer areas.

Evaporation during the Ice Age lowered the oceans as much as 300 feet. This created land bridges that would’ve allowed animals to migrate to islands and other continents.

For example, there was likely a land bridge connecting modern-day Russia and Alaska due to shallower oceans and hefty buildup from snow and ice. Nowadays, though, this land bridge is submerged in the Bering Strait.

Remember, after the Flood, God told Noah to “Bring out [from the ark] with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—that they may swarm the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth” (Genesis 8:17, ESV).

It was God’s will for animals to populate the entire globe. Surely He provided ways for them to do that, whether by floating debris, land bridges, or manmade boats.

Learn More About Migration at Answers TV

Learn fascinating facts about the history of migration and the migrating patterns of God’s interesting creatures!

Fall Migration

Join Peter Schriemer for a fun-filled exploration of God’s creation. In this episode, we’re looking at how animals migrate, how they know where to travel, and what they do to survive the long journey.

The Resettling of the Americas Before Columbus

What happened in the Americas before Columbus “sailed the ocean blue”? Mainstream science indicates that the land’s first settlers migrated to America from Asia around 15,000 years ago.

But modern genetics upends this view. Discover who was here first and who followed with Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson and Ken Ham!