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Monday 23 July 2018

Stripes don't keep zebras cool after all

Other theories claim the zebra fur thwarts biting flies, helps to protect the animal from predators, or are the result of ‘sex selection. Photo: PA
Other theories claim the zebra fur thwarts biting flies, helps to protect the animal from predators, or are the result of ‘sex selection. Photo: PA
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Scientists have disproved a long-held belief that zebras' black and white markings evolved to keep them cool.

The theory holds that the stripes are one of nature's most ingenious air-conditioning units: the black stripes get warmer than the white areas, causing small vortices where the hotter air above the dark fur meets the cool air adjacent.

But according to new research by Swedish biologists, it is nothing more than an old wives' tale.

A team at Lund University used grey and striped hides to show the stripes failed to make a significant difference to heat emission.

Other theories claim the zebra fur thwarts biting flies, helps to protect the animal from predators, or are the result of 'sex selection'.

Irish Independent

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