A recent study has concluded that what we think about Zebra stripes is way wrong.
Some surprising new research is turning common understanding of the purpose of a Zebra’s stripes upside down. But there are plenty more amazing things about this bizarre animal.
As we reported recently, zebras were thought to have stripes in order to camouflage it from predators, but research published in the journal PLOS ONE indicates that this couldn’t possibly be the case, as by the time predators would be able to see the stripes, they’d have already detected the animal. So scientists will be going back to the drawing board to figure out what their real purpose is: social cohesion, controlling body temperature, or protection against disease-carrying insects, perhaps.
The Zebra’s stripes make this animal one of the most distinctive in the entire animal kingdom, but there are other aspects of it that make this truly a unique creature.
According to a Discover Wildlife report, the stripes may disperse more than 70 percent of incoming heat, which is vital for the sweltering African sun, and could answer the question of what their purpose is — although it’s not quite conclusive.
But how does it keep biting insects from infecting them with disease? It is thought that the distinctive monochrome pattern makes it difficult for flies to lock on to them.
Then there’s the social cohesion part. Because each zebra has a unique stripe pattern, it acts as a fingerprint and a unique identifying feature that can help foals identify their mothers.
But Zebras are about more than their stripes. They also have an incredible migration, with millions of them traveling 1,800 miles between the Serengeti and Masai Mara in Tanzania and Kenya, respectively.
Zebras have also been used by the Roman Empire. The Romans used Grevy’s zebras to pull chariots in their circuses, calling them the “horse-tiger.”