technology-news

Research uncovers why zebras have stripes

London, Dec 21 : Scientists from Royal Holloway, University of London and the University of Queensland have finally discovered the purpose of the zebra's black and white stripes.


According to the latest research zebras have bold patterns to conceal their movements and protect them from being attacked.

Although the zebra's black and white colour does not camouflage it against its background, scientists say that the stripes have a dazzling effect on predators.

Using computer models, researchers showed that the markings make optical illusions when the animals move, making it hard for predators to focus on individual animals.

"The stripes don't just confuse big predators like lions - pests and flies are affected too," says Professor Johannes Zanker from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway.

"The highly visible oriented stripes on a zebra's flank and the narrower vertical stripes on its back and neck give unexpected motion signals that confuse viewers, particularly in a herd of zebras. Our research suggests that these illusions cause pests and predators to mistake the zebra's movement direction, which would cause biting insects to abort their landing manoeuvres and chasing predators to mistime their attacks," he adds.

The functional significance of the zebra's stripe pattern is one of the oldest questions in evolutionary biology. "Zebra stripes have long confused scientists, right back to Darwin and Wallace," says Dr.Martin How, from the University of Queensland.

"Previous theories for the function of these stripes include social communication signals, camouflage at dusk or dawn in grassy habitats, and the so-called 'dazzle' effect when being pursued by predators or blood sucking insects," he added.

--IBNS (Posted on 21-12-2013)

technology-news headlines

New groundbreaking technique may help cure diseases by 'editing' DNA

Ancient Antarctica was as warm as today's California coast

Domesticated chili pepper originated in Central-east Mexico

Neanderthals carried more copies of potentially detrimental mutations

'Upside-down planet' reveals new method for studying binary star systems

Learn why homo sapiens survived when others could not

New material prevents plastic from ageing

Know if you are an app addict

Animals with bigger brain size more intelligent

Now, a detector to distinguish 'sour' oil from 'sweet'

UV lamp of the future is here

Shrimp-inspired material to make airplanes stronger

Quick Links: Goa | Munnar | Pondicherry | Free Yearly Horoscope '2014

Comments

Your e-mail:


Your Full Name:


Type verification image:
verification image, type it in the box

Message:

Back to Top