Why do zebras have stripes?
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Why do zebras have stripes?

November 20, 2019


Although most people tend to think of the zebra as the white animal with black stripes Scientists have discovered that the zebra is actually a black animal with white stripes Much like a fingerprint the stripes on a zebra are unique No two animals have the same pattern but why do they have stripes at all? Whether roaming around the zoo or running across the Serengeti, The zebra is an animal that sticks out. The Zebras black and white stripe pattern could not be more obvious That might not be the case when it comes to zebras predator However in the wild the Zebras main predator is the lion an animal known to be colorblind Scientists who study animals believed that the Zebras pattern is a sort of camouflage that helps it hide from predators. Imagine that you can only see black white and shades of grey. A solid color dark horse standing in light color tall grass would be very obvious. A zebra stripes, however, Help it blend in with grasses and brush making it much more difficult to see Some biologists also believe the zebra stripes may be helpful when zebras run in a herd When a large number of zebras move together their stripes could appear to be one large animal running This illusion may confuse predators Making it difficult for them to pick out a single animal to attack. Recent studies, however have cast doubt upon the popular camouflage theory. Researchers have noted that many other grazing animals in Africa had not developed similar striping to deter predators Instead researchers have discovered that stripes may have two other purposes regulation of body temperature and deterring biting flies. Scientists began studying these possibilities when they noticed that zebras in hotter areas tended to have more stripes In a large study of African zebras researchers found that zebra stripes correlated closely with temperature and precipitation Not the prevalence of lions. These led them to dub the camouflage theory and look for other explanations Although no hard conclusions can yet be drawn from these new studies scientists now believe zebra stripes may help keep zebras cooler Some scientists suggest that their moves more quickly over black stripes and less quickly over white stripes Causing air to swirl back the stripes meet and thereby cooling the zebra skin. Other researchers believe zebras in hotter areas have more stripes to deter disease-carrying biting flies such as tsetse flies and horseflies. Researchers have learned that biting flies which prefer hot weather Don’t like to land on stripe surfaces The presence of more stripes in warmer areas could be a natural defense against these biting flies. So that’s all for today Thanks for watching guys, and please don’t forget to subscribe

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  1. how does that criticism of the camouflage theory 1:24 compare to basically the same situation for the heat/fly theory? It still holds that there are no other animals with stripes.

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