April 28, 2010— -- A new claim by an evangelical Christian filmmaker and Turkish scientists that Noah's Ark has been found encased in ice on Mount Ararat has been met with equal parts excitement and skepticism.
Yeung Wing-Cheung of Hong Kong said he is "99 percent" sure the wooden structure he filmed along with Turkish scientists and archeologists is the remnants of the famed ark God instructed Noah to build to save himself and the world's animals from an epic flood.
"We are not saying that we are 100 percent certain that what we found is Noah's Ark. No one has ever seen the ark, no one knows what it looks like," Yeung said. "We are only 99 percent certain that it is Noah's Ark based on historical accounts, including the Bible and local beliefs of the people in the area, as well as carbon dating."
It would be a discovery for the ages. But skeptics are already questioning Yeung's find, especially since he refuses to say exactly where he found the supposed ark with its wooden chambers still intact.
"I'm not quite 99.9 percent sure it's Noah's Ark, but they've got something," George Washington University's Eric Cline told "Good Morning America." "I'm waiting for them to convince me."
He suggested it could even be a very old shepherd's hut.
"I would want to first of all try to figure out their data, verify it," he said.
Even though the precise location of the latest find has been kept secret, Cline said Yeung and his scientists would need to "parachute in" a large team of independent experts and archaeologists to study the wood and surrounding areas.
"In terms of Noah's Ark, I would have suspected it would have perished long ago," he said. "The wood should just have disintegrated."
Cline said that if Noah's Ark had come to rest atop a remote mountain, as the Bible suggests, it's reasonable that he would have dismantled his ship to use the wood for shelter.
"Instead of Noah's Ark, I would be looking for Noah's first house or something like that," he said.
Filmmaker Appeals for Help Verifying Ark Discovery, Plans to Go Back for More
Yeung said he filmed inside the structure for about an hour. He brought back samples that were later tested in Iran.
They say the wood has been tested and carbon dates to around the time Noah was afloat.
Yeung said the Turkish scientists told him there has never been any evidence of human settlement on top of the mountain.
"We heard from the people living near the mountain that there are remains of a wooden boat on top of the mountain," Yeung said. "Some of them said they have seen it but we were the first to bring back video of these wooden remains."
Mount Ararat has long been the favored theory for the ark's final resting place. At 2½ miles up, Yeung's video shows straw lying on the structure's floor.
"We are sure," one Turkish scientist said with the help of a translator, "these parts belong to the ship of Noah."
For centuries, every few years people have claimed to have found Noah's Ark. In 2006, American Christians claimed to have found a rock formation that resembles the ark very close to Yeung's site.
"I'm waiting for them to convince me," Cline said. "But who knows? Stranger things have happened."
Yeung got involved with the project in 2004. He said he used three cameramen. The research and the trip to Mount Ararat was financed by his Christian organization, but he declined to say how much was shelled out.
Yeung said he plans to go back to the site again, but first will appeal to scientists throughout the world to examine their findings.