Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Adam's Rib

I took Anatomy and Physiology in high school. I successfully graduated from college and graduate school which included some biology classes. I enjoy great literature. I have never thought of myself as stupid, but as sure as I'm sitting here typing this admission, last night I was ready to argue that women had one more set of ribs than men!

Was this a hole in my education? Was I home sick from school that day? Did I learn the truth and then supplant it over time with the more deeply rooted biblical stories from my youth? Why hasn't this come up since then? These are just some of the questions that have been racking my brain since last night.
The number of ribs was noted by the Flemish anatomist Vesalius in his key work of anatomy De humani corporis fabrica in 1543, setting off a wave of controversy, as it was traditionally assumed from the Biblical story of Adam and Eve that men's ribs would number one fewer than women's.[1] A small portion of people have one extra pair of ribs, or one fewer, but this is unrelated to gender. (Wikipedia)

Seriously, I was ready to argue the point when my better sense prevailed. How on earth could I believe this to be true? And then the realization this morning: did I even really believe this to be true? I certainly didn't teach it to my daughters when we went over the human skeleton.

The best I can figure, it just bubbled up from a deep, dark place in my brain that still holds unquestioned remnants of a marginally religious upbringing. I just don't know why it sprang to life last night, or more importantly, why it hadn't been rooted out long ago.

Scary.

1 comment:

Kim said...

I wonder how you concretize anatomy?