Megan Knight m.a.knight at
Mon Feb 17 07:51:05 EST 2003

Jon wrote:
Indeed i suspect that the iregular nature of
these things is an evolutionary mechanism to ensure
that women who can count still pass on their genes.

My reply:
Or that they don't pass them on. Counting works (or doesn't) both ways.

John then went on to say:
I'd be interested to learn if there is any research to
suggest that a different figure has ever been accepted
historically or by other cultures.

And me again:

There is probably very little ancient lore on menstrual cycles, since it has
only been for a generation or two that
a) women are well-nourished enough to menstruate regularly. and
b) women can spend most of their adult lives not pregnant or breastfeeding.

the menstrual cycle is a modern invention. Until very recently most adult
women menstruated very seldom, unless they were celibate. Incidentally, the
28-day idea may well come from the pill, which imposes a 28-day "cycle" on
anyone who takes it (the period that occurs in the gap between taking pills
is not a real period). I suspect that the 28-day cycle was just convenient,
being exactly four weeks and all. Incidentally, there are researchers who
believe that the number of periods modern women experience can be bad for
their health, and recommend taking the pill for longer periods without

Interesting website:


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