Pull of the Moon: Facts and Fables of the Lunar Cycle
The lunar cycle can ...
... govern reproduction: In many animals this is true. Biting midges synchronise their breeding cycle with the full moon and so will bite more in the days following this as the females try to feed on enough blood to help their eggs develop. Marine animals also synchronise their breeding cycles to the moon. In humans, women’s menstrual cycle also appears to mirror the length of the 29 day lunar cycle, but whether it is influenced by the moon remains controversial.
... play tricks on our eyes: Things really can look stranger under the light of the moon. When a full moon is close to the horizon, in the right conditions, it can create a kind of optical illusion that makes it appear up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter than when it is high in the sky. This is known as a “supermoon” and has been attributed to causing earthquakes and other disasters due to the moon being closer to the Earth. However, it is just our eyes playing tricks on us.
... cause more injuries among pets: A study by Colorado State University found that emergency vet visits for cats and dogs increased by around a quarter on the days around a full moon. While this could be due to the animals going a bit hyperactive under the full lunar glare, it is also perhaps just a statistical quirk – the extra light from the moon allows them to spend more time outside at night and so increases their risk of injury.
... trigger territorial behaviour: Among badgers at least, this appears to be true. During the new moon, when it cannot be seen, badgers mark their territory far more than when in a full moon.
... can be used for navigation: Marine organisms use moonlight to move up and down in the sea. They move to keep their light levels constant, allowing deep sea creatures to travel to shallower depths to feed on plankton and algae at times when predators are less active. African dung beetles can also walk in a straighter line when the moon is out.
However, there are popular myths that the full moon ...
... causes deviant behaviour: Emergency services have often blamed rises in crime on the full moon, with police forces from Brighton to Ohio deploying extra officers to counter any trouble that may occur at the peak of the lunar cycle. Hospitals and nursing professionals have also reported spikes in injuries during the full moon. There is, however, no evidence to prove this effect is real and several studies have failed to show a link.
... drives people mad: Doctors and nurses anecdotally report seeing more patients with mental health problems during a full moon than at any other time. Research by psychologists at Canada’s Universite Laval found a full moon or new moon had no effect on psychological problems. The reports by health officials could perhaps be more due to their own superstitions than any real effect.
... causes werewolves to appear: A popular theme through out folklore is that humans bitten by a wolf will shape-shift into wolf-like creatures. Myths of wolf-men became common place during the witch hunts in the 15th century. While some have attempted to attribute werewolves to rare medical conditions such as porphyria, a skin disease, there is no evidence they exist or change in a full moon.
... can induce labour: There are some claims that the gravitational tug of the moon on a child in the womb can cause women to go into labour. Scientists, however, claim the pull of the moon on the human body is tiny. For example, they say, a mother holding her child will exert 12 million times as much force on her child than the moon. A series of studies have found no link between the lunar cycle and births.
... made George W Bush president: Commentators have claimed the reason George W Bush won an unexpected second term as US President in 2000 was the result of the full moon influencing the behaviour of voters. It is more likely, however, that his victory was a consequence of the complex US electoral system.
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Re: Pull of the Moon: Facts and Fables of the Lunar Cycle
I never really understood "Pull of the Moon". Wax and wane should have the same pull.