A correspondent just reminded me of this classic paper from the literature—it’s the only contemporary scientific work I know of that managed to combine a discussion of the induction of a tissue by TGF-β and BMP proteins with a discussion of the Hebrew noun tzela to suggest that the book of Genesis wasn’t talking about thoracic ribs at all. All us sneering atheist professors who’ve had to exhibit human skeletons to show the creationists in our classrooms that men are not missing a rib apparently should have been pointing a little lower — where humans are missing a bone.


This comment on the Panda’s Thumb leads to a very interesting entry on OMIM, the database of human genetic characters. We’re missing something.


Deletion of the gulonolactone oxidase gene on 8p21 is a genetic disease that affects 100% of humans. Lack of the enzyme causes severe connective tissue disease and makes humans dependent upon dietary supplements of ascorbic acid; see 240400. Gilbert and Zevit (2001) pointed out that another genetic condition, affecting 100% of human males, is congenital lack of a baculum (os priapi; os penis). Whereas most mammals (including common species such as dogs and mice) and most other primates (except spider monkeys) have a penile bone, human males lack this bone and must rely on fluid hydraulics to maintain erections. The size of the rodent baculum is regulated by the posterior members of the HOXD (142987) set of transcription factors. Gilbert and Zevit (2001) suggested that it was not a costal rib but rather the penile ‘rib’ or baculum that God removed from Adam to create Eve (Genesis 2:21-23). Genesis also states that ‘the Lord God closed up the flesh.’ Gilbert and Zevit (2001) suggested that the raphe on the penis and scrotum was thought to be the surgical scar.

I’m a deformed mutant, a pathetic shadow of my bold, upright ancestors. My only consolation is that all you other guys are, too.


  1. #1 Sastra
    July 24, 2007

    So there is Biblical support for the widespread male opinion that women are all a bunch of castrating b*tches.

  2. #2 Tatarize
    July 24, 2007

    I had read the Gilbert and Zevit paper a few years back and was quite impressed. The genesis story is clearly an etiology and trying to explain the missing rib in men. But, men aren’t missing a rib. They not only explain which bone human men are missing, but give a pretty good argument that it would need the same noun would be used. More a noun meaning “supporter” than rib.

    I think Dawkins in the Selfish Gene noted that without that bone human ancestors could more easily judge the health of potential mates. Personally I think with the major redesign our hips have gone through in the last four million years we could easily have lost fairly worthless bones at certain steps. I certainly don’t want one installed. Though I could take that gene that would make me produce Vitamin C.

  3. #3 Brownian
    July 24, 2007

    So lemme get this straight: God made Adam, and gave him a penis. God saw that Adam was lonely, and since Eden was devoid of snow for signing, Adam had no use for his penis.

    God decides to kill two birds with one stone; he’ll create a female so Adam has company and together they’ll find a use for Adam’s penis.

    In typical Intelligent Desiger fashion, what part of Adam’s body does he mutilate in order to create a female?

  4. #4 Kseniya
    July 24, 2007

    In typical Intelligent Desiger fashion, what part of Adam’s body does he mutilate in order to create a female?

    Yes, how inane! But what few people realize, Brownian, is that God had just dumped a zeusload of cash into the Pfizer Pharmaceuticals IPO.

    So you see, His ways are not so mysterious after all!

  5. #5 speedwell
    July 24, 2007

    Heh, Molly for Brownian for that crack about the part that the Intelligent Designer chose to mutilate.

  6. #6 grasshopper
    July 24, 2007

    Brownian, that is something that has long puzzled me.

    God created Adam in his own image i.e. with a penis, but Adam had no-one to have sex with.

    Unless he used to go on dates with himself at Chez Éden and sit at an intimate, candle-lit table for one.

    Anyways, this rib thing: it is just an erectile tissue of lies.

  7. #7 Brownian
    July 25, 2007

    Hmm, those are all good questions. Does God have cranial sutures? What about a blessed belly button? If not, where does He keep His lint? Do God’s toenails grow? His hair and beard should grow because He’d be unable to trim His split ends if they didn’t. Can God metabolise lactose? If so, most humans are not made in His image. Does His gut swarm with holy E. coli? Does He wear sandals to protect His feet from cherubic chiggers? Is God a vegetarian? He certainly made the Jews grill a lot of barbeque for Him. How does He floss His teeth? If God is infinite, then those wisdom teeth must be really far back in there. Does His breath stink when He wakes up? And did Adam and Eve dream? Did they dream of falling before the Fall? When they dreamt of being naked in public did they think it was a nightmare or that they were back in the Garden?

    Man, a religious upbringing just leaves so many questions unanswered.

  8. #8 emissrto
    February 20, 2008

    Antennapedia-like homeobox genes is confirmed by cDNA(s) in a particular subgroup of homeobox genes are the Hox genes in the length of a CAG triplet repeat (INTRON OMIM: 147265 ITPR1 Inositol). Hence the phrase [in] GPI besides the phrases of English idiom perfectly clear for full clarity perhaps, earlier. At the expense of nuclear export as RNA toxin entry to the cell surface without a new approach that involved a way of [HOXD] escaping the burden of proof and strong associations against.

  9. #9 John Morales
    January 15, 2010

    pusatbelanja, I’ve noticed you posting on various threads in desuetude, and always with a little pointless snipe.

    Re your contribution above, what is this organ that you imply has been lost?

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