I saw this headline (about zebras) on Google News:
It was certainly news to me. I never knew there was a theory that zebra stripes were designed to keep the animals cool.
Deep down in the story there is a list of other theories regarding the evolution of zebra stripes:
There are a number of theories as to why zebras evolved the black and white hide. These include small variations on the same central idea, and have been divided in to the main categories below.
- Apparent size increase
- Visibility in poor light
- Moving stripes may dazzle predators
- Social benefits
- Fitness indication
- Protection from tsetse flies.
Or maybe there is no reason at all. According to my limited knowledge of evolution, the genetic changes that lead to things like striped fur on zebras don't have to supply any advantage at all. If the change doesn't kill the animal then it gets passed on to the next generation. Simple as that. No advantage required.