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Brenda Larison of the University of California at Los Angeles received a grant from the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration to investigate the genetic basis and adaptive significance of stripe pattern variation in plains zebra (Equus burchelli). The study represents a unique opportunity to gain new insights about the evolution of zebra stripes, and because the topic of zebra stripes inspires not only scientists: but artists, designers, children and the merely curious, it provides a natural bridge to engage people in the scientific process.

Resolving the Riddle of Why the Zebra Has Stripes

Zebra stripes are among the most striking mammalian coat patterns. How these dramatic patterns are produced remains mysterious, as does their adaptive value. National Geographic grantee Brenda Larison is in the field in Africa to gain new insights about the evolution of zebra stripes.