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Why do zebra have stripes? Scientists masked the horses to find out



What is black, white and striped around – with the exception of the head?

Horse carrying zebras on a farm in the UK

Animals did not attend masquerade. They were dressed for research that explores the mystery that surprised scientists over a century.

With a solid layer of brown or gray, "most mammals are quite tedious," says Tim Caro, who is studying the coloring of animals at the University of California. , Davis and co-author of the study, published on Wednesday in PLOS One. "So when you see such bold designs as giraffe or zebra, how do you say a biologist, why?"

At least since Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell [8959006] Wallace theorized about evolution, the scientists discussed the function of this awkward animal imprint. It's called camouflage to confuse large predators, a signal of identity to other zebras and a kind of nasal air conditioner. Now, most scientists agree that the function of zebra strips is to prevent biting flies that can carry fatal diseases.

Flies counterbalanced all horses and zebras in squads. But as soon as they approached, the zebra strips seemed to dazzle flies so that they could not control a controlled landing. Flies increased too fast and either deviated from time – or just crashed into zebra and bounced off. The flies do not seem to like the zebra horses on the horses, but their bare heads were a fair game.

"Something stops the fly from realizing that it is close to landing," said Dr. Caro. "We do not know what it is, but the bands are affecting the last second."

The only thing they can say for sure is the high contrast between black and white, most likely, a tricky low.

"This, perhaps, simply pushes the fly away," said Dr. Yak.

In the optical illusion, called the hairdresser's pole, diagonal strips seem to move up or down, depending on the path on which the pole rotates. Something like this can happen when the flies approach the zebra. From the distance, the fly may interpret the subject as gray, but as the diagonal strips approach, diagonal zebra may appear to move in false directions. As a result, the fly may think that it moves to open space, and not to landing. Or, perhaps, the sudden appearance of strips can overwhelm the vision of the fly and spoil it into a loud stupor.

Researchers now test coats of different patterns, contrasts and thicknesses to see only what is meant by stops that stop. flies "By playing with these variables, we can hit the inside of the head of the flies, or the eyes of the flies, to find out that it's confusing," said Dr. Caro.

Meanwhile, people planning to be horses or horse-drawn flies may consider having zebras rather than rigid ones to avoid bites. You will probably also make your horse twinsie, too.


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