The truth behind whether zebras are black or white

You may know that zebras derived from the horse family four million years ago and reach speeds up to 35 miles per hour -- but are the four-legged animals considered black or white?

The answer rests in something called melanocytes -- or the cells inside a zebra that produce the black pigment of their skin. Case solved!

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Those cells are the same ones that determine skin color in humans -- but unlike our species, the pigmentation in a zebra's skin transfers to its fur.

Therefore, the melanocytes in the black stripes have been activated -- while the melanocytes in the white fur are dormant. Simply put: Zebras are black.

Get more zebras in the gallery below:

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The truth behind whether zebras are black or white

Keep in mind, though, that where zebras live it has an affect on their stripes. Those in warmer climates have more stripes -- which is great for the overheated equines.

When air hits a zebra it moves quickly over the black light-absorbing stripes and slowly over the white.

This alternating current creates little swirls of air that makes their skin temperate about 5.4 degrees cooler than their non-stripped mammalian counterparts.

Either way you look at it, zebra stripes are both useful and definitely make a bold statement.

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