Stephen G. Saupe - Biology Department, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Collegeville, MN 56321; (320) 363-2782;

Gink and Go Talk about Ribs

SettingGink and Go are in anatomy lab studying a male and a female skeleton for a test on human bones. 

Gink:   Hey dude, can you believe the garbage that Saupe was trying to feed us in class today? 
Go:   Huh?  Whatdayamean?  I liked today’s class on evolution.
Gink:   Oh pahleeeeeeze – you don’t mean to tell me that you believe in that evolution stuff?
Go:   Of course I do.  Evolution is the only scientifically valid explanation for the diversity of life on earth.
Gink:   Yeah whatever.  Let’s just finish this stupid assignment so we can get out of here.
Go:   Good idea.  The first question we need to answer is how many ribs are there?
Gink:   Men have fewer ribs than women because God created Eve from one of Adam’s ribs.  It says so in the Bible.
Go:   Are you sure?  Perhaps we should test your hypothesis and count the ribs on these two skeletons we’re studying.
Gink:   Why bother?
Go:   A good scientist doesn’t take a hypothesis on faith; we need to support or refute it by analyzing the available evidence.
Gink:   Enough philosophizing – Saupe does enough of that to fill me up for a lifetime.
Go:   Alright, let’s count.
    Check out the diagrams……  (male on left, female on right)


Holy barbeque sauce!  12 pairs.  They have the same number of ribs. 

Go:   Of course they do. 
Gink:   There must be something wrong with these stupid skeletons that Saupe is making us study?  I'll bet that they are both female skeletons.
Go:   Nah, the biological supply company wouldn’t make that kind of mistake.  Besides you can tell that this one is a female because the hips are wider. 
    Check it out below.....(can you tell which is female and which one is male?  answer below)


Gink:   I guess that explains why women wear a different cut of jeans than men.  The female pelvis is wider to account for the birth of a newborn with a large brain.
Go:   Does the Bible really say that men have fewer ribs than women?    
Gink:   Well, not specifically.  It just says that God took a rib from Adam to create Eve.
Go:   One rib or two?
Gink:   One.  But what difference does it make?
Go:   Don’t you remember that ribs come in pairs?  Anyway, why should their children be missing any ribs at all?
Gink:   Well, if God took a rib from Adam, his sons would all be missing a rib.
Go:   Just his sons?  And what  kind of inheritance mechanism does this represent?
Gink:   Oh no, you don’t expect me to remember that dumb historical stuff that Saupe was babbling about, do you?  It has something to do with a guy named Lamb Ark.
Go:   Close, Lamarck.  He’s the one who thought that species evolved because individuals acquired a trait during their lives and then passed it to their offspring.
Gink:   Use and disuse of parts.  Inheritance of acquired traits.
Go:   Right – but Lamarck’s ideas have been discredited since there’s no mechanism by which a change that is acquired during an individual’s lifetime could get into the germ cells for reproduction.  That’s why…..
Gink:   yeah, yeah......generations of Jewish and Muslim males who have been circumcised continue to have sons requiring circumcision.
Go:   That’s right.  Thus, even if Adam did loose a rib there’s no way for it to be passed to his children.  Furthermore, why would it be inherited just by his sons?  Ribs aren’t a sex-linked trait like excessive facial hair.  The trait should be passed to his daughters equally.  Besides, the Bible doesn’t tell us how many ribs Adam started with or how many we should have.
Gink:   I guess you’re right.  I’m making an inference and it’s based on an outdated evolutionary idea.
Go:   You have to remember that the Old Testament was never meant to be a science book -  just a beautiful document to explain our relationship to God. 
Gink:   So, does this mean you’re going to tell me that the earth isn’t 10,000 years old and that Noah didn’t gather all the animals and plants on earth, and that the order of creation isn’t as it was written in Genesis?
Go:   I’m sorry to say that I am.  But that’s another story.
Gink:   Spare me.

Reference:    This dialog is based directly on the following article

Pelvis:  male (left), female (right)

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Last updated: February 02, 2005    � Copyright by SG Saupe