Zebra Stripes by Tim Caro

By Tim Caro

From eminent biologists like Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin to recognized authors equivalent to Rudyard Kipling in his Just So Stories, many folks have requested, “Why do zebras have stripes?” there are lots of reasons, yet previously not often any were heavily addressed or maybe validated. In Zebra Stripes, Tim Caro takes readers via a decade of painstaking fieldwork interpreting the importance of black-and-white striping and, after systematically disregarding each speculation for those markings with new info, he arrives at a stunning end: zebra markings are nature’s protection opposed to biting fly annoyance.

Popular reasons for stripes variety from camouflage to confusion of predators, social facilitation, or even temperature legislation. it's a severe problem to check those proposals on huge animals dwelling within the wild, yet utilizing a mixture of cautious observations, easy box experiments, comparative info, and common sense, Caro is ready to weigh up the professionals and cons of every notion. Eventually—driven by way of experiments displaying that biting flies keep away from touchdown on striped surfaces, observations that striping is such a lot excessive the place biting flies are considerable, and information of zebras’ susceptibility to biting flies and vulnerability to the ailments that flies carry—Caro concludes that black-and-white stripes are an edition to thwart biting fly assault. not only a story of 1 scientist’s quest to unravel a vintage secret of biology, Zebra Stripes can be a testomony to the large price of longitudinal examine in behavioral ecology, demonstrating how commentary, test, and comparative study can jointly reshape our figuring out of the common world.

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