OK, this may not be entirely suitable for work---but I am referring to the Bible, if that's any consolation. As you've probably heard, women are often assumed to have one less rib than men because of this story found in Genesis. A classic reaction to this legend is this account ("Darwin's Rib") by a first-time college evolution instructor. If you haven't read this before, STOP--it's short, funny, memorable and makes an important point! You have to read it!

Now, if you've read that, my 'bone to pick' with Genesis. Somewhat creatively, a pair of medical researchers have suggested that the word translated as 'rib' could be thought of as any sort of support structure, perhaps, even the baculum (penile bone), which humans lack but most other primates possess.

Ahem. It's not clear whether or not they are trying to defend some convoluted notion of inerrancy, or whether they are suggesting that the original folkloric intent of the passage has been lost. The latter would require one to believe, however, that some one in the Levant around 4,000 years ago was combining comparative anatomy with a historical account of function. As with the tiger getting its stripes, a 'Just-So Story', but one requiring more than a passing knowledge of a single beast, I would think.

It gets better! The authors (Gilbert and Zevit) also suggest that "the raphe on the penis and scrotum was thought to be the surgical scar." A few comments seem in order:

1) The claim is, in effect, Lamarckian---who knew that the ancient scribes were so close to adaptive explanations?

2) The perineal raphe is found in other primates which still possess a baculum: what scar are they carrying?

3) The perineal raphe is more prominent, to the point of a (shudder) bifid scrotum, in males who suffer from the genetic disorder Townes-Brock Syndrome---an unkind cut, albeit deeper, from the deity?

4) One gets the impression that Gilbert and Zevit's suggestion was definitely tongue-in-buccal raphe.

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