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Science Reveals Why Zebras Have Stripes

4 years ago1K views

GeoBeats

Geo Beats

Experts have come up with many different hypotheses over the years, including that the zebra stripes act as camouflage to confuse predators, or that they help to control the animal’s body heat, but the latest study shows that the stripes are probably used to keep biting insects like horseflies and tsetse flies away.

Researchers from the University of California, Davis think they may have figured out why zebras have stripes.

Experts have come up with many different hypotheses over the years, including that the stripes act as camouflage to confuse predators, or that they help to control the animal’s body heat, but the latest study shows that the stripes are probably used to keep biting insects like horseflies and tsetse flies away.

The study set out to test all of the most popular hypotheses to explain why zebras have stripes, and they found that the most compelling argument put forth by their statistical model showed that the number of biting insects in an area correlated to the number of stripes on the zebras.

Tim Caro, a wildlife biologist at the University of California, Davis who led the study, is quoted as saying: “I was amazed by our results. Again and again, there was greater striping on areas of the body in those parts of the world where there was more annoyance from biting flies.”

Although the research didn’t involve observing any zebras in the wild, the scientists think they are on to something, because the results are consistent with a previous study on the same subject.

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