BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A new study seems to rescind the theory according to which zebra’s use their stripes for camouflage. Using novel imaging techniques, a team of scientists has discovered that zebra’s stripes are not meant for camouflage or for social purposes for that matter.
For a very long time, scientists have been trying to figure out what is the purpose of the stripe patterns which adorn the body of the zebra from head to hoof. Many of them believed that the zebra’s used their stripes for camouflage. More specifically, the stripe pattern would permit the animal to blend into the environment, thus confusing nearby predators.
But it seems that this theory has been recently rescinded by a team of scientists from the University of California and from the University of Calgary. Amanda Melin, the head of the research team, declared that we could easily mistake zebra’s stripes for camouflaging devices since we look at zebras through our eyes.
To see if indeed the stripes serve a camouflage purpose, one should look at a zebra through the eyes of a predator, more specifically through the gleaming eyes of a big feline.
Using certain photographic techniques, a team of scientists discovered that zebra’s stripes are not meant for camouflage. To see first-hand what is the exact functionality of the stripe-like patterns on the zebra, the team used a couple of photos shot in Tanzania. The pictures several packs of zebra, wondering in the savanna.
In order to simulate the cat’s vision, the team applied multiple filters to the pictures. Moreover, they even managed to simulate certain conditions, like how would a feline see a zebra during daylight, during dusk or on a moonless night.
The results were baffling, to say the least. According to study, which wanted to ascertain at what distances a predator can spot a zebra, the stripes serve no camouflage purpose whatsoever. For example, in twilight conditions, a predator can pick up a zebra from a distance of 98 feet, and on a moonless night, big cats can easily spot off wondering zebras from a distance of 29 feet.
We can clearly see that the stripes cannot be used for camouflage because big feline predators can use their sense of smell in order to detect zebras at such short distance.
A team of scientists has discovered that zebra’s stripes are not meant for camouflage. Although they were able to rule out this theory, the question still remains: what is the purpose of those stripes? It would seem that more research is necessary in order to discover the functionality of the black-and-white pattern.