(Reuters)-- It's an evolutionary quirk that people have been trying to explain since
1870...why the zebra got its stripes.
But now, one researcher believes he has the answer.
Johannes Zanker, a computational neuroscientist at Royal
Holloway University, says it's all in the movement. "So basically in what the brain sees when a person or an
animal looks at zebras, there are very peculiar motion illusions
generated in the brain. Their stripe patterns confuse the visual system
of a potential predator, or, let's say, equally, of insects, which are
not just a nuisance to these animals, but also could be carrying
Zanker's motion illusion is also seen in barber shop poles
and wagon wheels.
The illusion makes the movement of the objects appear
different to their movement in reality.
Zanker says the findings could have wider significance -
especially for road safety.
He argues that if zebra crossing lines were painted
horizontally to approaching cars, drivers would be more inclined to
notice them earlier.
Reporter:Joel Flynn, Reuters