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Are zebras black with white stripes or white with black stripes? © Getty Images

Are zebras black with white stripes or white with black stripes?

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May the answer's not so black and white...

Most zebras have dark skin beneath their fur but the stripes do not consist of white fur with gaps in between – they have both black and white fur.

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All the fur grows from follicles that contain the pigment-generating melanocyte cells. It’s just that in the white fur, these melanocytes are deactivated. This implies that black is the default colour of the fur and that’s why most authorities and experts describe zebras as black with white stripes.

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Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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