October 02, 2019
Have you ever wondered if zebras are white with black stripes, or black with white stripes? A very unusual zebra foal, which is almost completely black with a few white spots, recently discovered in Kenya, makes the answer clear.
This rare foal was first seen by a tour guide in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. The unusual markings on the foal are the result of a genetic condition called pseudo-melanism. Melanin is responsible for determining the colour of hair and skin, in the case of the zebra melanin causes their black stripes. This foal’s abundance of melanin has led to enlarged black stripes, resulting in the very unusual patterning.
Different theories propose that a zebra’s stripes improve their ability to stay cool, ward off insects, and camouflage themselves. It is not yet known if the spotted pelt of the foal will impact its ability to survive in the savannah, but for now it is certainly attracting a lot of attention from photographers who are keen to capture this incredibly rare creature in the wild.
Source: Smithsonian Magazine
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