18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
Many of us are familiar with the Biblical account of the creation of Eve from the rib of Adam. In this account, God uses genetic material from Adam to create a genetically matched female partner for Adam. Mention of this rib in scripture has lead men to investigate whether or not men have one less rib than women. Much to their disappointment however, it was found that men and women have exactly the same number of ribs - twenty four. So what happened? Did Adam have 25 ribs and God used one to make 24 ribs for Eve? The answer to that question may be very surprising, and is a known occurrence within the medical community.
About 1 in 500 people, approximately 0.2% of people are born with an extra short rib found in the neck, called a cervical rib (1). This cervical rib is considered an abnormality, because ribs are not normally found in neck region of the spine, and it is one cause of the medical condition called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (2)(3). Thoracic outlet syndrome causes pain in the shoulder region and numbness/tingling in the hand due to the compression of the blood vessels and nerves leaving the neck(4)(5).
So is this cervical rib the evidence of Adam's rib? Did Adam genetically pass on this feature to some members of the human race? It seems like the more we study science and the more we study the Bible, that we can see the truth of God, even in nature.
(3) Richardson JK, Iglarsh ZA. Clinical Orthopaedic Physical Therapy. Philadelphia, PA: W.B Saunders Company, 1994.
(4) Richardson JK, Iglarsh ZA. Clinical Orthopaedic Physical Therapy. Philadelphia, PA: W.B Saunders Company, 1994.