Scientists have finally realized why zebras stripes

No one would have guessed. The answer was found as a result of amazing experiments


Continued selection of candidates in the famous Ig Nobel Prize winners (Ig Nobel Prize), which is awarded for the most dubious, and even wacky achievements in various fields of science and solemnly handed at Harvard University about a week before the Nobel Prize.

"Ig Nobel Prize Committee," consisting of employees humor magazine "Annals of Improbable Research" (Annals of improbable research), which established a comic award back in 1991, finds the nominees, learning important scientific publications.

And found a serious bid for victory: publication in the journal Journal of Experimental Biology. A group of physicists, opticians from Hungary and environmentalists from Sweden (Adam Egri, Miklos Blaho, Gyorgy Kriska, Robert Farkas, Monika Gyurkovszky, Susanne Akesson, Gabor Horvath) was analyzed with a longstanding mystery. Finally figured out why zebras stripes.

It was believed that the strips zebras need to disguise that they — zebra — mixes in with the African landscape and become indistinguishable to predators. Researchers have refuted this rassprostranennoe even among scholars astray. The strips are perfectly visible. Especially at night by the light of the moon, where many predators to hunt emasculate zebras.

Nevertheless, there are strips of protective function. They are least attracted to biting flies. Scientists first put forward this idea as a hypothesis, and then proved it experimentally. They took three bay horses and paint one white, the other — in black, and the third — a zebra, that is, in black and white. All coated with a special adhesive compound and sent to graze.

After some time, researchers have adhered to the horse flies. The last thing they had on striped. And from what it was concluded that the strip — that vertical — protect from flies.

According to the experimenters, camouflage comes from the fact that the strip is polarized reflected light, and horseflies bad it is perceived.

By the way, along the way managed to answer the other question that worried, for example, the characters of the cartoon "Madagascar": zebras are white with black stripes or black with white?

The study of embryos of zebra showed that color foal is in the womb, first the black. The white stripes appear later. Thus, zebra black with white stripes.

Scientific fact: zebra black with white stripes
Scientific fact: zebra black with white stripes
Scientific fact: zebra black with white stripes
Photo: Bichar

Studies of the role of zebra stripes in life was conducted on grants from the Hungarian Science Foundation (Hungarian Science Foundation), the Swedish Research Council (Swedish Research Council) and the University of Lund (Lund University).

And remains, however, unclear why the other African animals were not in the process of evolution striped like zebras? Or they do not bother biting flies?

Category: Flora and Fauna

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