Stripes

Zebra are very smart. When the southern Serengeti herds migrate north in late spring, following the fresh grass, tens of thousands of zebra lead the way. Among the migrating herds, they seem to have the best memory of routes and river crossings. They are also polite. At river crossings, where crocodiles lie waiting, zebra always remember to let the wildebeest go first.

To many people, it seems that zebras got a bad deal from nature with that bold, black-and-white striped coat, so easily seen in the savannah. That is very puzzling to scientists because it seems to be a great advertisement to predators. Years of research threw out one idea after another until they finally hit on the answer — flies. The particular width, contrast and patterns of zebra stripes confuses biting flies and make it hard for them to land on a zebra. Nature has great ideas. (Pricing Schedule F)

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