Back in the 1950s, scientist Alan Turing suggested that the stripes and spots on the animals’ bodies were formed because of the peculiarities of their embryonic development.
But, as we know, everything happens in nature for a reason, and biologists still discuss the purpose of the characteristic zebra markings. According to the main version, the stripes are needed to help animals merge with the environment and thus better hide from predators.
American researchers from the University of California and Bristol University have put forward another hypothesis, suggesting that the stripes protect horses from insects. So, they decided to find out which version is closer to the truth and did it in a very extravagant way.
They took a few horses outside with one of them wearing a striped suit. The outfit was not all they came up with: the researchers sprayed the animal with a special «perfume» — a substance emitted by zebras. As a result of the experiment, it turned out that the «fashionable» horse was the least bitten.
The thing is that the stripes create an optical illusion, deceiving flies. And the scent of zebras also contributes to this disorientation. It is much easier for an insect to sit on a conventional horse than on its striped peer from which it constantly falls. Thus, the old riddle about the purpose of the stripes finally got an answer.