Friday, February 24, 2012

How the zebra got his stripes

The zebra is completely black as an early embryo, and white stripes only appear in a later embryonic stage, when the production of dark pigmentation is blocked.  A popular theory is that zebras evolved striped coats as camouflage in tall grass but evidence for this is patchy.

In a paper in the Journal of Experimental Biology last year it was proposed that zebras are striped because this pattern attracts the fewest

The best part of this experiment is that they built 'four life-size "sticky horse models " painted in different colors and patterns to test their theory. As predicted the zebra-striped horse model attracted the fewest flies.

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