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#10427 - 01/13/06 10:58 PM Zebras
RM Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 560
Loc: London
Well you can hardly call a Zebra pattern camouflage. One animal documentary suggests that when the Zebras are all bunched together eg, when grazing, the individual Zebra patterns 'merge' together to form a confusing illusion for potential predators. They showed a clip of this and they did indeed produce an illusion, however the camera was positioned very far away, far further than any potential predator would be.
Can anyone suggest another possible reason for a Zebras so-called camouflage?

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#10428 - 01/14/06 12:15 AM Re: Zebras
Blacknad Offline
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Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
I don't know - it almost looked as if they were painted by someone wink

Blacknad.

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#10429 - 01/14/06 01:57 PM Re: Zebras
RM Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 560
Loc: London
If I were a moderator I would delete that smile

-just kidding. Seriously, do you have any idea? This is a real puzzle.

My personal idea is that it confuses the predators during a chase. But then why are Zebras the only animals with this pattern?

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#10430 - 01/14/06 07:08 PM Re: Zebras
Dogrock Offline
Member

Registered: 10/20/04
Posts: 92
Loc: Ireland
I think it also confuses flies who like to land on dark patches. It might make it harder for them to alight on the Zebra and that would be a huge plus. Other animals don't have it because they'd stand out a mile and might be using the quiet approach to survival. Like a shop advertising we have CCTV, they're not trying to catch thieves just sent them elsewhere. Maybe the Zebra is doing something similiar. All they're short is the two flashing yellow beacons saying "don't cross me".

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#10431 - 01/14/06 09:55 PM Re: Zebras
Anonymous
Unregistered


Tigers are striped too, but they are predators and lurk and lie in wait for their food as well as stalking it in high grass and jungles. You don't see tigers bunching up to evade predators.

One thing is certain, the stripes on a zebra must have some survival value or they wouldn't have evolved to have them in the first place. Just because we don't understand it doesn't mean the advantage isn't there. Maybe it serves to confuse the predator as to which end is which, who knows?

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#10432 - 01/15/06 11:07 AM Re: Zebras
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Rob,

I'm glad you took my remark in the spirit it was meant.

It's such a good question that I'm surprised I've never thought about it before.

Well I sat for a while and was going to write some conjecture about Lion's vision possibly being slightly different - so thought I'd Google it and guess what? Lions are color blind. (Maybe I'm the only person who didn't know this).

So the wavy lines of a zebra blend in perfectly in the tall grass.

Also (from How stuff works and as per your initial comments) -

'When all the zebras keep together as a big group, the pattern of each zebra's stripes blends in with the stripes of the zebras around it. This is confusing to the lion, who sees a large, moving, striped mass instead of many individual zebras. The lion has trouble picking out any one zebra, and so it doesn't have a very good plan of attack. It's hard for the lion to even recognize which way each zebra is moving: Imagine the difference in pursuing one animal and charging into an amorphous blob of animals moving every which way. The lion's inability to distinguish zebras also makes it more difficult for it to target and track weaker zebras in the herd.'

Also zoologists believe that the stripes are like fingerprints and allow zebras to recognise one another.

My one issue is how does a series of genetic mutations create such unique, beautiful and delineated markings.

But I know that confuses a few concepts and I am willing to accept that as you have said elsewhere 'it's simple ignorance'.
There must be a mathematical view.

Blacknad.

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#10433 - 01/15/06 11:09 AM Re: Zebras
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
OK!

So let's do tiger's stripes next.

If you fancy some good bedtime reading, the following paper looks at how non-uniform spatially repetitive patterns can occur and why.

http://www.intercult.su.se/refweb/kenw04/Kenwardetal2004.pdf

It looks as if I've committed the unforgivable sin of letting some science slip into the 'not quite science' board. I promise not to do it again smile

Blacknad.

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#10434 - 01/16/06 11:59 AM Re: Zebras
RM Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 560
Loc: London
NO, PLEASE DO!

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#10435 - 01/19/06 03:26 AM Re: Zebras
Dogrock Offline
Member

Registered: 10/20/04
Posts: 92
Loc: Ireland
I tried to read it but got spots before my eyes. If the Zebra could wear the explanation on it's skin I'm sure the lion would eat grass.

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