Research reveals how Zebra got its black and white stripes


The presence of two-tone coats in the body of Zebra has perplexed scientists for years. Now, a study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Bristol and UC Davis, California has suggested a new theory that might be the real reason behind these stripes.

Earlier, it was speculated that the stripes in the body of Zebra were to avoid predators, regulate body temperature and to maintain a better social function. But as per the new research report, the primary purpose of these stripes is to avoid the approach of blood-sucking parasites.

During the new study, researchers under the leadership of Professor Tim Caro and Dr Martin How investigated the behaviour of tabanid horse flies around captive zebras and domestic horses using various video analyzing techniques.

The video analysis revealed that tabanid horse flies that approached zebras failed to slow down, and this slowing down method was quite essential for successful landings. However, in the case of horses, due to the absence of stripes, tabanid flies easily slowed down and landed on their body.

"Horse flies just seem to fly over zebra stripes or bump into them, but this didn't happen with horses. Consequently, far fewer successful landings were experienced by zebras compared to horses," said Tim Caro, Honorary Research Fellow from the University of Bristol's School of Biological Sciences, in a recent statement.

Dr Marton How revealed that the presence of stripes on zebras' body disrupts the visual system of the flies during the close approach.

"This reduced ability to land on the zebra's coat may be due to stripes disrupting the visual system of the horse flies during their final moments of approach. Stripes may dazzle flies in some way once they are close enough to see them with their low-resolution eyes," revealed Martin How.

A few months back, a team of scientists at the University of Queensland and Neel Institute solved 'chicken or egg' paradox. After using various theories of quantum physics, both the chicken and egg can come first. In 2014, another research conducted by researchers argued that chicken came first, as proteins are required to form the egg, and it is found only in chicken.