Many cultures have myths and stories of great floods, often send to purify the earth of humans. The Sumerian flood myth is the oldest (about 2000 BCE) and forms the foundation of the Gilgamesh epic. The main character is here Utnapishtim who builds an ark and thus survives the flood. In the Bible, there is of course the story of Noah, very similar to the earlier Sumerian myth. Survivors of such floods often became the progenitors of a new race of human beings.