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Why zebras are striped (this time we really MEAN it)


We meant it last time too. And the time before. Look, we still don’t know for sure why but …

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, so now here.

Zebras in warmer climates sport more stripes, perhaps to keep them cool or healthy.

From National Geographic News:

This “stripe riddle” has puzzled scientists, including Darwin, for over a century. There are five main hypotheses for why zebras have the stripes: to repel insects, to provide camouflage through some optical illusion, to confuse predators, to reduce body temperature, or to help the animals recognize each other. (See “Zebra Stripes Evolved to Repel Bloodsuckers?”)

A new analysis of the plains zebra—the most common species, which ranges from Ethiopia to South Africa—doesn’t tease out one theory as the definitive winner.

But it does show that temperature is the factor most strongly linked to striping: More specifically, the warmer it is, the more stripes on the zebra.

That makes sense. When it is warmer, one can be more reckless. Perhaps the costs of variation are reduced by the abundance of energy.

News from Canada: The warmer it is, the more colourfully people dress too. If you lived where O’Leary for News does, you would see nothing but drab parkas now. Sometimes, you can’t even tell whether whatever inhabits the parka is a man or a woman.

Note: If it travels on two legs, it is a human. So drive carefully, especially on sheet ice. For sure, have an anti-lock braking system.

Also: Re evolutionary psychology, what’s always been a mystery to me is why no one in that apparently dying discipline picked up on actual facts about human beings. Facts that can be determined without resort to nonsensical speculation about what our ancestors “would have” done.

Like this one: Humans like warm places way better than cold ones.  Everyone wants to be near the furnace vent.

The local travel tourism industry depends on this fact. All uproars around the alleged “population bomb” have centred on warm places. There has never been an uproar, among mentally normal people, about a population bomb in Finland or Norway or Canada.

I wrote about this stuff in more detail here. (Yes, there would be some obvious things to learn about human nature from our evolution, but they do not especially support Darwinism.)


Study: Zebra stripes neither hide nor flaunt

Stripes offer no advantage to zebra?

How the zebra got its stripes, this time really

How the zebra got its stripes, maybe

How the zebra did NOT get its stripes?

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Zebras are just horses. Many horses are born with a few stripes remembering their past. surely the stripes are for survival. After the flood the world was filled with many hugh fast predators NOW extinct. The horse only can run. so it runs in herds. the stripes, like in white tailed deer, simply confuse the predator as he is about to single out one. That to me is why they are there. the mechanism being the same for any animal colour thing. whatever that is. its not pests and heat. Robert Byers
Still think this is why: https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/why-zebras-are-striped-this-time-we-really-mean-it/#comment-542601 :) Dionisio
Natural Selection works best if visible to the naked eye. Finch beaks slowing changing shape, Walking Sticks becoming more stick-like over time, leaf shaped bugs becoming more realistic looking over time. Classic Natural Selection stories. Zebra Stripes are every visible, but don't follow the script. Zebras are stupid. ppolish
Dr. Moran has been discussing this topic on sandwalk. His opinion, and apparently the opinion of Gould, is that it is contingent. It is because it is, natural selection simply doesn't care. This is an interesting theory, and certainly supported by Dr. Moran's pet -- the neutral theory. However, it appears to me that very complex systems exist throughout life. According to MET, these systems developed step by step by natural selection favoring every minor step along the way. If natural selection says nothing about zebra stripes, I don't know how it can select for each minor change that develops a complex system. Further, when you realize the complex interaction between gene and protein, the fact that in humans there are at least 10 proteins for each gene, it becomes inconceivable that complex systems would arise via this method. But then, the entire MET theory is inconceivable from step 1, so why mention it in the first place. Oh yea, to support those who read this site who are still malleable. Moose Dr
Why are zebras striped? Well, apparently that's the way someone long ago decided to identify places designated for pedestrians to cross a road. :) http://1951club.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/abbey_road_zebra_crossing_by_atillathehungarian-d37amo7.jpg Dionisio
OK, but shouldn't any explanation of zebra stripes also explain tiger stripes? And perhaps leopard spots? Why do leopards have spots and lions choose solid khaki camo? And of course why do zebras have stripes and wildebeest do NOT? Adult giraffes have no natural predators, since a swift kick by a giraffe can kill a lion. So why do giraffes have spots? From whom are they trying to hide? If the stripes provide some quantifiable advantage, then why aren't ALL animals striped or spotted? US Army camouflage studies back in the 1970s concluded that the best all purpose camouflage is a single color: olive green, autumn tan, snow white, etc. "Pattern Painting" gave some minor additional value, as long as your vehicle was in the shadows of a treeline. Similarly, the airplane guys went to overall gray (tan for deserts) with a lighter gray underside. If there is no single explanation for fancy outsides, then each of the specific explanations must be false. Maybe the Designer just got bored with making everything Mouse Gray. mahuna

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