Aren't Zebras Supposed to Have Stripes


"A zebra does not change its spots" - Al Gore quote, but perhaps a zebra can be born with spots instead of stripes. Is a zebra a zebra if it doesn't have stripes? Apparently, it is still a zebra, but instead of its traditional white with black stripes, or black with white stripes however you look at it, a genetic anomaly that occurred in Africa caused a zebra to be born with polka-dots.


Born in Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, this rare foal was born with polka dots, instead of the traditional striped markings. This is the first time that this unusual pattern has ever been seen amongst zebras in the Maasai Mara. The foal was given the name "Tira" by the guide who discovered him.


What caused this type of pigmentation?

According to Forbes, "Inbreeding may increase the number of abnormally patterned wild zebras," “Because the spotted and partially spotted animals tend to be more frequent in areas that have been subject to habitat fragmentation, and in which the census sizes are low, we do, indeed, suspect that inbreeding (and genetic drift) contribute to the phenotype”, Professor Barsh replied in an email."


Normally, animals born outside of their normal color patterns do not fare well in the wild, due to standing out of the pack making them more prone to predators. However, this zebra was too cute to not report.



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