The truth about why zebras get stripes
Scientists have several theories as to why zebras developed their distinctive black and white stripes
according to yao hanaho
11 December 2019
Rudyard Kipling jokingly wrote that the crosswalk was due to the “shade of a slipping tree” on his body, but are scientists getting closer to the truth?
A fascinating experience took place on a horse farm in the UK in February 2019.
A team of evolutionary biologists from the University of California at Davis and their British staff have studied why zebras have stripes.
In the name of science, he dressed the domestic horses of Hill River in crosswalk coats and examined them with real zebras.
Owner Terry Hill has a herd of zebras sourced from zoos across the UK. This is a collection born out of Hill’s passion for breeding wild horses.
Maintaining the herd, which occupies a two-acre enclosure with sandbox and herb gardens, is one way to protect the zoo’s breeding resources and save the animals from future extinction.
Welt has been in use for over 100 years
For Tim Caro, an environmentalist at the University of St Andrews and a crosswalk for nearly 20 years
A relatively tame zebra in the delivery yard was a valuable opportunity to stand and observe from a few feet away.
“We’ve been talking about scratch for over 100 years, but to understand it better, you just have to experiment and think clearly about the problem,” he says.
How and why zebras evolved into black and white stripes is a question that has challenged scientists for more than a century.
Scientists attribute at least 18 reasons for this, ranging from camouflage and warning colors to more creative explanations such as unique markers that help identify a person as a human fingerprint.
However, for a long time, new theories were introduced without rigorous examination.
White striped black?
Like horses and donkeys, zebras belong to the genus Equus.
The three surviving zebra horses, which roam the eastern and southern parts of Africa and whose black hair is blocked by threads of colorless white hair, are the only striped horses.
The pattern and strength of the stripes depend on the type and location.
These stripe differences shape our understanding of how stripes work, as well as the challenges facing zebras in the environment.
Scientists are still debating the exact origin and function of the scratch, but recent efforts have focused on three possibilities.
Protection from bites of flies, thermoregulation and protection from predators.
Blood-sucking and sucking flies are a common threat to African animals.
Abu and tsetse flies also transmit diseases such as sleeping sickness, African horse sickness, and the deadly equine influenza. The fine hairs of the zebra provide little barrier to biting flies.
However, analysis of the diet of the disturbed fly found no evidence of zebra blood.
For nearly a century, anecdotal evidence and experiments with inanimate models have repeatedly shown that flies do not land on scratched surfaces.
A 2014 study by Caro and colleagues found plenty of evidence.
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