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Zebra stripes work as an elaborate cooling system 

The mystery of how and why the zebra acquired its stripes has puzzled scientists for centuries.

But now zoologists believe the alternating black and white markings act as an elaborate cooling system, creating a convection current of air which behaves like a natural fan, helping to evaporate sweat.

Former biology technician, Alison Cobb and her zoologist husband, Dr Stephen Cobb of the University of Nairobi, measured the temperature of black and white stripes of two wild-born plains zebra at 15 minute intervals on a sunny day in Kenya.

They found that through the day the absorbent black stripes rose to temperatures between 111F (44C) and 132F (56C) but the more reflective white ones stayed between…

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