"I don't know of any expedition that ever went looking for the ark and didn't find it," Paul Zimansky, an archaeologist at Stony Brook University in New York state, told National Geographic.
The alleged discovery was announced in Hong Kong Monday by Turkish and Chinese explorers from Noah's Ark Ministries International.
"It's not 100 percent that it is Noah's ark, but we think it is 99.9 percent that this is it," Yeung Wing-cheung, a filmmaker who traveled with the explorers, told the Daily Mail.
The explorers say they found seven large wooden compartments buried under snow on the mountain at 13,000 feet above sea level in 2007 and 2008, and returned with a film crew last October.
"The structure is partitioned into different spaces," Noah's Ark Ministries International team member Man-fai Yuen said in a statement. "We believe that the wooden structure we entered is the same structure recorded in historical accounts."
In the biblical account, Noah built a large boat called an ark at the behest of God and loaded it with his family and two of every species of animal in order to survive epic flooding. Some believe the ark wound up on Mount Ararat.
The team says radiocarbon-dated wood taken from the secret discovery site shows the purported ark is about 4,800 years old, which coincides roughly with the biblical time frame.
Biologist Todd Wood, director of the Center for Origins Research at Bryan College in Tennessee, has his doubts because he questions the accuracy of carbon-dating and thinks the vessel would have been used to build homes after the flood waters receded.
"I'm really, really skeptical that this could possibly be Noah's ark," he said.
Biblical scholar Jack Sasson of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee also says it's doubtful Noah landed on Mount Ararat.
"The whole notion is odd, because the Bible tells you the ark landed somewhere in Urartu," he said, referring to an ancient kingdom in eastern Turkey, "but it's only later that people identified Mount Ararat with Urartu."
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