Science Nature

Scientists finally figure out why Zebras have stripes and it’s a good news for Horses

Zebra stripes have been baffling scientists for centuries. No one had ever been able to figure out the real reason behind zebra stripes. A new finding by researchers at the University of Bristol and UC Davis, California, may have an answer to put an end to the mystery.

Nothing in the natural world is without reason. Hence there must be a reason why zebra evolved to have black and white stripes. Various theories have been proposed over the years but nothing conclusive could be said about the evolution of stripes on animals.

It’s All About Repelling Bugs

The scientists theorized that the stripes help in avoiding blood-sucking parasites such as horse flies. Scientists figured out a very cunning way to test out the theories. They used video analysis on the interaction of tabanid horse flies with a mix of captive zebras and domestic horses at a livery in North Somerset, UK.

A herd of Grant’s zebras approaches the Mara River’s treacherous waters during their annual migration through southern Kenya. Enormous Nile Crocodiles lie just below the water’s surface ready to attack the defenseless zebras. (Digitally enhanced)

The scientists observed that from a distance the stripes made no difference. However, on a closer look, they found that when the flies tried to get closer to the zebras the flies would fail to slow down and hence won’t be able to land on the zebras.  “Horse flies just seem to fly over zebra stripes or bump into them, but this didn’t happen with horses,” said Professor Tim Caro, Honorary Research Fellow from the University of Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences. “Consequently, far fewer successful landings were experienced by zebras compared to horses.”

Good News For The Horses

Zebra stripes work as a natural mosquito repellant that took millions of years for zebras to evolve.

Based on this new discovery a new horse suit is being sold in the market by Bucas. The horses are made to dress up as zebra and it does look really bizarre. Have a look for yourself:

Horse dresses in buca's buzz flies suit
Horse dresses in Bucas Buzz Flies suit

You can even buy one of these suits for your horse at Amazon here for a price of $27.95 + $5.54 shipping.



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