A new study conducted by researchers at UC Davis and the University of Calgary suggests that zebra stripes aren’t for camouflage.
Today was the day the new findings were published in PLOS One journal. What were the finding though, you may be wondering, why are you wasting my time? Well, according to this article by UC Davis’s Pat Bailey, Amanda Melin, the lead researcher in this endeavor, said that:
“The most longstanding hypothesis for zebra striping is crypsis, or camouflaging, but until now the question has always been framed through human eyes.We, instead, carried out a series of calculations through which we were able to estimate the distances at which lions and spotted hyenas, as well as zebras, can see zebra stripes under daylight, twilight, or during a moonless night.”
Melin and her colleagues concluded that there is strong evidence to assume the patters on a zebra’s pelt are for discouraging pesky flies from irritating them.
It was the thought that zebras could blend in to their environment, like woodland ares where the black would mimic tree trunks and light stripes, but after testing the pattern’s visibility to predators’ eye sights, this wasn’t completely true. Another theory came from the fact that zebras are very social creatures. It was once thought that these stripes served as name tags for social events within the zebra community and provided identification, however the research done by Melin and her colleagues point otherwise.
Thanks UC Davis!