The concept of zebra refers to a mammalian animal that, like the horse and the ass (also called a donkey), belongs to the genus Equus. Zebras are characterized by combining black and white stripes on their body.
Originally from Africa, zebras are soliped quadrupeds: they have a single finger whose nail functions as a helmet. They generally weigh about three hundred kilograms and reach a height of up to 1.5 meters, being females and males of a similar size.
Zebras are herbivorous and feed on shoots, branches, bark, leaves, and grass. It is common for them to eat during the morning and afternoon. These animals, on the other hand, have hyenas and lions as their main predators. The human being, through hunting, also threatens the life of zebras.
There are currently three species of zebra. The common zebra (Equus quagga) is the most frequent, while the mountain zebra (Equus zebra) and Grévy’s zebra (Equus grevyi) are less numerous.
The physical appearance of the zebra is worthy of being admired and, in fact, it has received a lot of attention since it was discovered by the human being: given the peculiarity of its striped design, it has starred in all kinds of works of art, including its appearances in cartoons and animated films. It is one of the many examples that serve to remind us that we have not invented everything, that art is also found in nature itself.
Until not so long ago, the zebra was believed to be a white animal with black stripes, and one of the reasons to support this claim was that some individuals of this species have a white belly. However, thanks to various studies on embryos, it was discovered that their background color is black, and that the white stripes and the color of the belly appear over time.
The stripes are usually vertical on the head, on the neck, on the forequarters and on the main part of the body; horizontal stripes usually form in the area near the tail and on the hind legs. Regarding the reason why this striped design is generated, there are several opinions and hypotheses, although those that are mentioned most frequently are those that point to a mimicry mechanism.
One of these theories indicates that the vertical stripes of the zebra can help it hide among the grass through the phenomenon known as disruptive coloration, a form of camouflage that conceals the contour of the body, both of an animal and of a person or even of a machine, making use of a high contrast color pattern.
In addition, the striped design is believed to cause the zebra to appear to be gray, something that further helps make it more difficult for predators to work. However, this theory has been refuted on more than one occasion by alleging that animals that hunt zebras, including the hyena and the lion, cannot see clearly at great distances, and that for this reason they rely on their olfactory ability.
It is called a zebra crossing, on the other hand, the sector of the public road that is delimited with white stripes parallel to the sidewalk or sidewalk and that gives the right of way to pedestrians over vehicles in the absence of other signs regulating the transit.
Zebra crossings emerged in the early 1950’s in the UK. Over time, they spread to other countries with names like pedestrian path, pedestrian strip, and pedestrian line.