Adam's Missing Rib factoid: where did it come from?

The sermon this morning was on “Marriage and Adam’s Missing Rib,” which got me thinking about the fringe factoid that’s floating around out there, that says that males of the species homo sapiens are missing a pair of ribs. (And while I was researching this just now, I ran across this very interesting explanation of how men and women can have the same numbers of ribs and Genesis can still be true–evidently your ribs can grow back.)

Anyway, here’s only one of many websites that have this factoid posted.

So, my question is, does anybody know where this particular factoid came from, or when it first appeared? Is there some plausible taxonomic reason why someone looking at a skeleton would come to the conclusion that it was missing ribs?

Also, none of the several websites that I looked at that have the above document posted have any kind of attribution. Does anybody know who wrote it? Is it part of an established doctrine somewhere? I’m not familiar with it.

(P.S. I checked the Column Archives and it doesn’t look like Cecil has addressed this subject. I guess some things are too fringe even for him.)

Utter morons? Ultra-maroons? I don’t think we should waste Cecil’s time with this.

Not so fast…Do women have an extra rib cuz Eve got one of Adam’s?

I’m guessing the rumor surfaced because it supports the biblical story of creation, it sounds scientific, and it can’t be easily verified by the layman. Perfect for sermons and religious websites.

I remember this topic coming up on a message board a few years back, and one person related the story that a fundamentalist classmate, in an introductory biology class, was absolutely shocked to find out that human males and females have the same numbers of ribs.

Following is a joke my mother liked to tell: At one point Eve became concerned that Adam was fooling around with “another woman”. So, every night after Adam fell asleep, Eve would very carefully count how many ribs he had, to make sure another one wasn’t missing.

Thanx, Dr. Lao, I did my search on “missing ribs” and nothing came up. :slight_smile:

But it still doesn’t explain where the posted factoid came from…

And, um, yeah, I’ve heard actual Special Creationists report this factoid as fact. “Yeah, you know, it proves Genesis, 'cause men are missing a rib…”

WAG. The doctors and such on the board can tell me I’m wrong – please do. I’d like to know the real facts as much as anybody.

But from what I’ve seen through Google search – I suspect the subject of DDG’s link had doctors growing replacement bone by using the patient’s own periosteum and other samples of bone. This wouldn’t help Adam after the “rib-taking”, because he would have needed something for the periosteum to use as a base for grow-back. Another piece of rib bone, perhaps? From where? Eve?

And I see some Christians now say the word “rib” is an inexact translation of Hebrew – it should read “side”. As, “Eve issued from Adam’s side”. Where this leaves anybody – who knows.

Zev, help!!

Even if God did take a rib from Adamn, and creation is true, why would this mean males would be missing a rib. This is not a genetic manipulation, the thing was just taken out of him. If my father loses an arm before I am born, that does not mean I will be born with a missing arm…

Damn. Bear_Nenno took my thought, except I was going to use lost fingers as an example. (I had to explain this to my father once when he said men were one rib shy.) Just because I lose a finger on my right hand, my DNA still says I should have all my fingers, so (hopefully) my childrem would have all their fingers.

As I’ve heard it, the pun works in Sumerian and related languages but not in English.

The word for “womankind” (Inanna?) sounds a lot like the word for “rib” in the original.

As far as I know, we know of no languages related to Sumerian[sup]1[/sup]. It wasn’t a Semitic language like Babylonian or Hebrew. So the Hebrews, probably getting this myth from the Babylonians, didn’t get the pun either.

[sup]1[/sup] This is not to say that there were no languages related to Sumerian, but none have survived.

I’ve wondered about this myself, wondering if the correct word is bone not specifically rib

If my guess is correct, we can look to evolution for the answer. There is one bone that the great apes have, which homo sapiens no longer possesses. It is called the baculum. That would seem quite inappropriate though considering the nature of Adam’s problem. :wink:

Most Jewish commentators point out that what was taken from Adam was not a rib but a side. The hebrew word used in Genesis is tzela. The exact same hebrew word is used in Exodus 36:25, where the meaning is clearly “side.”

In any event, even if God did take Adam’s rib, Bear_Nenno is correct in stating that his children would not bear this deformity. After all, if I were to go and take out someone’s rib, his children wouldn’t be missing one.

Zev Steinhardt

yeah, zev, but you ain’t GOD! :slight_smile:

I too heard that the whole ‘rib’ thing is probably derived from an ancient pun or joke.