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Study: Zebra stripes neither hide nor flaunt

zebra w. color-calibrating images/Tim Caro, UC Davis

Remember “Why zebras have stripes? This time we really mean it!“?  Yes, same time last year:

Further to How the zebra got its stripes, maybe and How the zebra got its stripes (December 18, 2013), this time really (April 2, 2014), we now learn that it depends on the temperature, …

Forget all that! Now, from ScienceDaily:

Looking through the eyes of zebra predators, researchers found no evidence supporting the notion that zebras’ black and white stripes are for protective camouflage or that they provide a social advantage.

In the new study, Melin, Caro and colleagues Donald Kline and Chihiro Hiramatsu found that stripes cannot be involved in allowing the zebras to blend in with the background of their environment or in breaking up the outline of the zebra, because at the point at which predators can see zebras stripes, they probably already have heard or smelled their zebra prey.

“The results from this new study provide no support at all for the idea that the zebra’s stripes provide some type of anti-predator camouflaging effect,” Caro said. “Instead, we reject this long-standing hypothesis that was debated by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace.”

Okay, so that’s why all those researchers’ life and health insurance policies got cancelled in one single day. It would have been all right to dump on Wallace but not on Darwin, the author of the single greatest idea anyone ever had! 😉

It gets worse.

In addition to discrediting the camouflaging hypothesis, the study did not yield evidence suggesting that the striping provides some type of social advantage by allowing other zebras to recognize each other at a distance.

While zebras can see stripes over somewhat further distances than their predators can, the researchers also noted that other species of animals that are closely related to the zebra are highly social and able to recognize other individuals of their species, despite having no striping to distinguish them.

Maybe the stripes just came with the package? Like, you wanna be a zebra, you gotta have stripes.

See also: Natural selection: Could it be the single greatest idea ever invented?


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Here’s the abstract:

The century-old idea that stripes make zebras cryptic to large carnivores has never been examined systematically. We evaluated this hypothesis by passing digital images of zebras through species-specific spatial and colour filters to simulate their appearance for the visual systems of zebras’ primary predators and zebras themselves. We also measured stripe widths and luminance contrast to estimate the maximum distances from which lions, spotted hyaenas, and zebras can resolve stripes. We found that beyond ca. 50 m (daylight) and 30 m (twilight) zebra stripes are difficult for the estimated visual systems of large carnivores to resolve, but not humans. On moonless nights, stripes are difficult for all species to resolve beyond ca. 9 m. In open treeless habitats where zebras spend most time, zebras are as clearly identified by the lion visual system as are similar-sized ungulates, suggesting that stripes cannot confer crypsis by disrupting the zebra’s outline. Stripes confer a minor advantage over solid pelage in masking body shape in woodlands, but the effect is stronger for humans than for predators. Zebras appear to be less able than humans to resolve stripes although they are better than their chief predators. In conclusion, compared to the uniform pelage of other sympatric herbivores it appears highly unlikely that stripes are a form of anti-predator camouflage. Open access – Amanda D. Melin, Donald W. Kline, Chihiro Hiramatsu, Tim Caro. Zebra Stripes through the Eyes of Their Predators, Zebras, and Humans. PLOS ONE, 2016; 11 (1): e0145679 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145679

Maybe there is no practical or functional purpose, only that zebras look kinda neat to humans. One of the many graces to humans from the artful creators.
Yes. It's obviously art and beauty, something that brain-dead and clueless Darwinists/materialists have zero explanation for. Mapou
Maybe there is no practical or functional purpose, only that zebras look kinda neat to humans. One of the many graces to humans from the artful creators. mike1962
I find it interesting that they themselves do not believe their own press releases or research findings. Otherwise, why would they keep on looking for new solutions to the problem? Obviously the old ones do not really explain it! They don't tell us that though. But their actions show us that this is really the case. Whenever there are lots of different ideas posed as possible answers, it is usually because none of them solve all the problems. There is no answer that is sufficient. They all have their own problems, so researchers come up with a lot of different possibilities to make it seem like they have the bases covered. But what it often shows is that none of the answers are sufficient. They still do not really have an answer. tjguy
This was discussed abd better ideas were here. Of coarse its nothing to do with camouflage. Nor hiding from predators. The horse is all about running. Its all about running in herds and then the predator, on top of them, is frustrated by not able to concentrate on a specific horse because the stripes, in a group, hides form while they are moving. This is a common thing in bird herds by the way and probably white tailed deer. This should be the first conclusion to have to be debunked. Did they ask a zebra? Are these the best people? Are they in the way of better people? Robert Byers
It would have been all right to dump on Wallace but not on Darwin, the author of the single greatest idea anyone ever had!
Neither Darwin nor Wallace were the first to propose evolution by natural selection. Both acknowledged that Patrick Matthew was first. http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?pageseq=1&itemID=F1705&viewtype=text
Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette no. 16 (21 April [, 1860]): 362-363. ... I have been much interested by Mr. Patrick Matthew's communication in the Number of your Paper, dated April 7th. I freely acknowledge that Mr. Matthew has anticipated by many years the explanation which I have offered of the origin of species, under the name of natural selection. I think that no one will feel surprised that neither I, nor apparently any other naturalist, had heard of Mr. Matthew's views, considering how briefly they are given, and that they appeared in the appendix to a work on Naval Timber and Arboriculture. I can do no more than offer my apologies to Mr. Matthew for my entire ignorance of his publication. If another edition of my work is called for, I will insert a notice to the foregoing effect. - Charles Darwin, Down, Bromley, Kent.1?
... To my mind your quotations from Mr. Patrick Matthew are the most remarkable things in your whole book, because he appears to have completely anticipated the main ideas both of the "Origin of Species" & of "Life & Habitat". ... Believe me Yours very faithfully Alfred R. Wallace?
Jim Smith

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