The truth behind whether zebras are black or white

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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.

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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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