Many people in society still shy away from talking about a women’s menstrual cycle, aka periods. Even though there is a general awkwardness around talks about periods, there are some really cool facts about them too. Besides being the by-product of a woman not getting pregnant, there has been an on-going theory that women’s cycles can actually synchronize with one another.
Menstrual cycle start date. Photo Credit: Unknown
Why did people originally assume that women’s menstrual cycles synchronize with one another over time? To answer this question, one needs to consider the pheromones that women release. It was originally believed that women give off pheromones and when women are in one another’s presence, these pheromones cause their periods to synchronize.
Women embracing. Photo Credit: Unknown
Another reason people may have believed this is due to a study conducted in 1971, which is further explained in the video below. This study claimed that menstrual cycle synchronization was in fact real and that collected data supported this. Unfortunately, when more scientists tried to replicate this experiment in the future, they were not able to get the same results.
After hearing this, many people wonder if menstrual cycle synchronization is just a myth or a fact about the female reproductive system. Based on a more recent study conducted at the University of Oxford, the synchronization of periods is in fact a myth. The study was conducted using an app called Clue to collect data regarding participants cycles. Furthermore, 360 women participated in the study and 273 pairs of women had differing menstrual cycle times compared to one another. Based on this data, the researchers concluded that women’s periods do not sync with one another, proving the age-old myth wrong.
Why do some people continue to claim their periods are in sync? According to the study, women’s cycles are different time lengths compared to one another and this can result in an overlap of two women’s cycles at a certain time. This random overlapping may be the reason people still believe their periods become in-sync with one another.
Even though periods don’t really sync with one another, the theory of it was really neat. It would have been awesome to have someone binge-eat chocolate with me!
Author: Moneek Gill
A picture of an orca, better known as a killer whale, in captivity. Image Credit: Spencer Wright
One of the reasons that humans are considered more evolved than most species is our ability to communicate with one another through language; this may not be the case for long since orcas appear to be able to mimic human speech. In recent studies being conducted at the Marineland aquarium in France, an orca named Wikie was able to mimic certain words like “hello” and “bye-bye”.
How were researchers able to tell that Wikie was learning new words? In order to make sure the orca was learning new words, the research was conducted by choosing words the orca had not heard in the past. As heard in the audio clip, the orca “speaks” at a higher frequency, but the words are still understandable.
How can orcas mimic human speech? Humans are capable of speaking due to forcing air out of their larynx, a part of the throat that contains vocal cords which vibrate to produce sound, but orcas do not have vocal cords in their larynx. Orcas make sound by moving air in their nasal sacs by their blowhole. Even though humans and orcas both have a larynx, they are used in a different way to make sound.
Why did researchers want to see if orcas can mimic human speech? The researchers were interested in this idea since orcas appear to travel in pods in the wild and communicate with one another, but there is no evidence on how this originally started. Due to the orcas being able to mimic human speech, researchers believe there may be ways to learn the ways orcas communicate with one another and eventually understand an orcas’ nature.
Orcas travelling in a pod. Image Credit: Andrew Kalat
Does this research mean we can talk to orcas one day? Researcher were quick to point out that orcas may be able to mimic human speech, but there are no results indicating they fully understand the meaning of the words they are saying.
The scientists believe that further research may open more possibilities, but this particular study was not enough to understand if humans and orcas can one day communicate through language. Regardless of what researchers are saying, knowing that orcas can mimic my words back to me is still very cool. Hopefully the continuation of this research can help me better communicate with my dog Gabby in the future.
Author: Moneek Gill