Weekly, twice-monthly, and monthly lunar related rhythms have been alleged for various animal reproductive processes. Herein gestation times of 213 types of terrestrial placental mammals were analyzed for best-fit integer multiples approximating length of any of the above lunar related rhythms. At the same time numeric controls were constituted of a completely random, a block randomized, and a sequential set of numbers spanning the data set. Among test integers 6 through 33, the number 30, approximating the 29.53-day lunar-synodic month, was consistently and statistically a best-fit multiple to the data. This might suggest a once-monthly lunar illumination, but not a twice-monthly gravitational or near-weekly tidal, influence upon animal reproduction. As for a receptor mechanism, the tapetum, or reflective layer of the retina, present in most land mammals, but absent in humans, enhances dim illumination. A suggestion is that because of this visual enhancer, cycling moonlight might be a circa-lunar physiologic timer for many terrestrial mammals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)