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This question is a follow-up to "Different-counts-of-the-248-organs-".

As we see from the Mishnah in Ohalot 1,8, only the bones are counted as organs, namely a bone that has a sinew and some flesh.

THe Gemmorah in Bekhorot 45 states that women have 252 organs (there are different opinions, however, based on different Torah verses that range from 251-253):

מעשה בתלמידיו של ר' ישמעאל ... שבדקו ומצאו בה מאתים וחמשים ושנים: אמר להם שמא באשה בדקתם שהוסיף לה הכתוב שני צירים ושני דלתות

(As the whole discussion is within the topic of impurity I imply that the count in Bekhorot applies to the bones also as in Ohalot.)

I couldn't find any empirical support for this claim, as anatomically, the two skeletons are identical (with 206 bones, not 248-252). Also, this seems to be a very easy anatomical test - counting bones - there shouldn't be any dispute at all.

Interestingly, if women had 4 additional bones, R"I's students could easily identify the female skeleton just by those 4 bones (2 axels and 2 doors?), not by the total number of 252! (thanks to DonielF)

So what is going on here with counting the female skeleton differently?

  • @Al berko Could it be aggadita? It doesn't seem like it could just be a mistake of the knowledge of the times given how easy it is to verify. – Orion Aug 26 '18 at 13:53
  • The skeletons aren’t actually identical. They’re different enough that if an archaeologist comes across a complete human skeleton he can tell if it was a man or a woman just by looking at it. Most of the difference comes in proportions between different parts of the body, but the Gemara’s statement that women have extra bones along the birthing canal I believe is indeed accurate. – DonielF Aug 26 '18 at 15:25
  • @Orion The problem in the later Gm is that woman's body is learned from verses and not empirically. It is weird, though, as the real number of bones totals at 206, far from 252. – Al Berko Aug 26 '18 at 15:27
  • @DonielF I can not argue with a believer. Your first part is true, but they counted the bones and deducted it was a woman by the number, not by existence of a certain "female" bone . – Al Berko Aug 26 '18 at 15:33

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