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How did the zebra get its stripes? © iStock

How did the zebra get its stripes?

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The most compelling evidence suggests the main benefit comes from the contrasting way that black and white stripes absorb heat.

Asked by: Becca Johnson, Durham

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This mystery has ‘finally’ been solved many times over the years, with explanations ranging from camouflage to a deterrent against parasites. The most compelling evidence – published in January 2015 by scientists in the US – suggests the main benefit comes from the contrasting way that black and white stripes absorb heat. Black gets hotter than white, creating cooling swirls of airflow over the zebra’s skin.


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Authors

Robert is a science writer and visiting professor of science at Aston University.

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