Our tragic heroes go astray grandly by committing some single and fatal mistake. Comic figures, on the other hand, run through a whole train of petty errors, and somehow manage to extricate themselves from the final consequences.

—Harry Levin

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According to the book of Genesis, God created Eve from one of Adam’s ribs. As a result, Judeo-Christian tradition long held that men had one fewer rib than women. Despite the abundance of available evidence to the contrary, that belief survived for some fifteen hundred years, until the Flemish anatomist Andreas Vesalius, a pioneer of modern anatomy and a champion of medical dissection, finally showed otherwise.