Why do zebras have stripes ? Image Credit: John Storr
A new study has revealed the strongest evidence yet that the stripes help to deter biting insects.
The precise purpose of a zebra's stripes had remained something of a mystery for years with some of the more common theories ranging from providing camouflage to reducing body temperature.
The answer, as it turns out, is that the stripes on a zebra, like on several other animals, serve to help keep away biting insects. By analyzing and comparing a number of factors pertaining to each of the most popular hypotheses, researchers were able to rule out the facts that didn't fit and identify those that did, such as the discovery that most of the species that do possess stripes like those of a zebra tend to live in countries where biting flies most commonly prove to be a problem.
"We found again and again and again [that] the only factor which is highly associated with striping is to ban biting flies," said study leader Tim Caro. "I was delighted to see the results were so strong in one direction."
Source: National Geographic | Comments (36)