Men and women have 12 pairs of ribs (a few individuals have 13 or 11 pairs). For example, the New York Times wrote that “men have one less rib than women,” a belief apparently held by some creationists. Ribs are not gender-specific. The idea that men have fewer ribs than women is widespread but wrong, perhaps deriving from the biblical story of Eve being made from one of Adam’s ribs
The idea that men have fewer ribs than women is widespread but wrong, perhaps deriving from the biblical story of Eve being made from one of Adam’s ribs (Genesis 2: 21-22). Individuals of either sex can have an extra rib or a missing rib and this may not be noticed because the bones are so flexible. Genetic disorders can lead to a lack of some ribs; in people with cystic fibrosis, for example, the cartilage fails to ossify and may result in multiple rib fusions and absence of 10th and 11th ribs on both sides.
Adult men and women have 12 pairs of ribs. Some people—most often men
Men and women have the same number of ribs: 12 pairs. Some people have an extra rib, which is called a cervical rib because it connects to the vertebrae in the neck
Men and women have twelve pairs of ribs, the same number.
Men and women have the same number of ribs
The ribs are the series of long, flat, curved bones that form the protective cage of the thorax (chest). The human rib cage is made up of 12 paired rib bones, each of which articulates with the vertebral column posteriorly and terminates anteriorly as cartilage. The small joints between the ribs and the vertebrae permit a gliding motion of the ribs on the vertebrae during breathing. They partially enclose and protect the chest cavity where many vital organs including the heart and lungs are located.
- MEN and women have 12 pairs of ribs (a few individuals have 13 or 11 pairs). The idea that men have fewer ribs than women is widespread but wrong, perhaps deriving from the biblical story of Eve being made from one of Adam’s ribs.Steve Harper, Lecturer in Anatomy and Physiology, Thanet Technical College, Broadstairs, Kent.
- IT’S untrue. There is, however, a disease known as cervical rib which produces a single extra rib at the base of the neck. This is very rare indeed and can occur in either sex.James Mercer, Sheffield.
- This is Biblical bull. Both men and women have the same number of ribs, 12 pairs.J. Bean, London
- It is logical that men and women would have the same number of ribs. The rib cage protects the vital organs within the rib cage. Surely a Creator could replace Adam’s rib once he had made the point that Eve would walk beside Adam, not above him nor below him but she was of his flesh and was his helpmate.v.Haselden, Auckland New Zealand
- @J Bean: The Bible does not claim that men have less ribs than women. The Bible says that a rib was taken from Adam, and the woman was built around that rib. I heard once that a kidney could be taken from a donor and implanted into somebody else, is this medical bull?
How Many Ribs Does A Man And Woman Have?
The Adam and Eve story has led some people to believe that men have one fewer rib than women. This isn’t true. The vast majority of people have 12 sets, or 24 ribs, no matter their sex. People born with certain conditions may have too many or too few ribs.
The vast majority of people are born with 12 pairs of ribs, for a total of 24, no matter their sex.
The exception to this anatomy rule are people born with specific genetic anomalies. These can take the form of too many ribs (supernumerary ribs) or too few (agenesis of ribs).
Anatomy of the ribs
The ribs usually have the following anatomical components:
- Head: It is shaped like a wedge. It has two articular facets separated by a wedge of the bone. One facet articulates with the numerically corresponding vertebrae, and the other articulates with the vertebrae above.
- Neck: It contains no bony prominences but simply connects the head with the body. The place where the neck meets the body has a roughed tubercle with a facet that articulates with the transverse process of the corresponding vertebrae.
- Body: The body or shaft of the rib is flat and curved. The internal surface of the shaft has a groove for a bundle of nerves and blood vessels that supply the thorax, protecting the vessels and nerves from damage.
Most of the ribs that possess these components are typical ribs. The atypical ribs that do not have all these features are
- First rib (wide and short, has two costal grooves and one articular facet)
- Second rib (thin, long and has a tuberosity on its superior surface for the attachment of the serratus anterior muscle)
- Rib 10 (only one articular facet)
- Rib 11 and 12 (one articular facet with no neck)
According to their attachment to the sternum, the ribs are classified into three groups:
- True ribs: These directly articulate with the sternum with their costal cartilages from the first to the seventh rib. They articulate with the sternum by the sternocostal joints. The first rib is an exception because it could uniquely articulate with the clavicle by the costoclavicular joint.
- False ribs (8, 9 and 10): These indirectly articulate with the sternum because their costal cartilages connect with the seventh costal cartilage by the costochondral joint.
- Floating ribs (11 and 12): These do not articulate with the sternum at all (distal two ribs).
What are the functions of the ribs?
The important functions of ribs include
- Protecting the contents of the thoracic cavity and mediastinum.
- Moving superiorly (up), inferiorly (down), anteriorly(front) and posteriorly (back) to facilitate breathing. The unique position of ribs increases or decreases the size of the thoracic cavity as ribs move, assisting the lungs in respiration. Control of these movements happens via muscles called the diaphragm, external intercostals and the intercartilaginous portion of the internal intercostals.
- Providing a place where some muscles originate or attach.
- Playing a role in erythropoiesis (red blood cell formation) during development when the child is still inside the uterus.