For Wild Zebra ~ It’s All About The Spots

An elusive zebra having both stripes and spots was observed by wildlife photographer and safari guide Paul Goldstein.

In all his 25 years in the wilds of Africa, Goldstein had never seen a zebra with markings such as this.

The zebra was discovered in Kenya’s Masai Mara, one of the best places in the world for wildlife watching.  After two years of tracking, Goldstein was finally able to photograph this animal.

It appeared that this unique zebra had been ostracized by the other zebra, presumably because of its spotted markings.

According to Goldstein, this unique zebra is shy, “extremely bad tempered” and aggressive towards other zebras and appears to have no mates. However, he does have a lot of scars.

Goldstein states that ‘every zebra in Africa has slightly different markings, but this one has taken that to extremes.’

“The mane is short and completely black. The hooped markings on the legs are completely different to normal ones.  It has the shape of a donkey, but is much darker all over. The spots are very prominent’.

According to recent research done by UCLA Environmental Studies, other spotted zebra have been observed in prior years.

In 1967, a Spotted zebra was photographed in Botswana.

And in 2009 a Spotted zebra was photographed Nairobi National Park in Kenya.

Scientists have been speculating about the purpose of the zebra’s stripes since the 1870s, when Charles Darwin criticized Alfred Russel Wallace’s theory that the stripes provided camouflage in tall grass. Zebras prefer open savannahs, Darwin argued, where the grass is too short to make stripes useful hiding tools.

Since then, some scientists believe zebra evolved in such a way so as to make it easier to recognize each other.

Others say it is to confuse predators when they bunch into groups to avoid attack.

Further suggestions have been that the patterns of dark and light fur might cause air turbulence, helping the animals to cool off.

This year a group of scientists suggested still another theory: that zebra developed stripes to keep blood-sucking flies at bay.

It is known that the patterns covering the zebra are as distinctive as human fingerprints.

But here we are, still at the age old question … how and why did the zebra get its stripes.

Now we have the question … how and why did the zebra get its spots.

~~~

Sources:
UCLA Zebra Research
Discovery News
Mail Online

Photo Credits:
Paul Goldstein/Rex Features
Kenya Wildlife Services
Quagga Project
Brenda Larison
Dan Rubinstein

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. That’s very interesting. I’ve never seen a zebra with spots. Poor guy being ostracized, I feel sorry for him. I’m surprised he hasn’t fallen to a predator without the protection of the herd.

  2. Wow! I never knew that!! Zebras can have spots?
    Not only is the poor sad lonely guy very interesting (and beautiful in his own way) but the old photos of the other spotted zebras are amazing.
    I wonder did they suffer the same ostracization


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