Scientists have put forward another version of the purpose of zebra stripes

Amateur scientist Allison Cobb presented her version of the origin and purpose of alternating light and dark stripes in zebras. At the moment, there is no consensus on this issue, so Cobb's theory has the right to life. It consists of three postulates: dark stripes provide convective air flow, better evaporation of sweat, and in addition, prevent flies from attacking zebras.

Cobb worked in Kenya for several seasons, using an infrared thermometer to measure the temperature at different parts of the bodies of zebras throughout the day. According to her observations, the dark stripes are warmed up in the sun 9-15 degrees stronger than the light ones. This is already enough for, due to the temperature difference between these areas, a convective air flow is formed, which serves for passive heat transfer and cooling of the animal.

Also, Cobb noticed that in a period of intense heat, the hairs on the skin of the zebra rise, but only on dark stripes. This changes the aerodynamic shape of the coat's surface, allows the wind to fly through the thin environment more easily and evaporate sweat from the hide faster. As a control sample, Cobb used an old zebra skin - hairs did not move on the dead structure, no sweat was released, so under the same conditions it was 15 degrees hotter than a living zebra.

Finally, with the collaboration of biologist Tim Caro, Cobb proved that the striped surface of the skin confuses flies and other winged parasites. The high-speed camera recordings showed how small air swirls due to temperature differences disrupt the orientation of the flies at the last moment before landing. Because of this, only random individuals can successfully land and begin to parasitize, which significantly reduces the risks for zebras. It turns out that dark stripes on a plain skin are a consequence of a complex evolutionary mechanism.