Millions of years of evolution lead to zebra’s stripy visage as we know it today. But did you know that thanks to spontaneous mutations or some recessive genes, zebras can have spots instead of stripes? Somewhere down the line, their ancestors wore polka dots, until those spots started to become longer, eventually turning into the glorious strips even a 3-year-old can recognize.
Today, one in a billion zebra calves is born all covered in dots. It’s a fascinating sight to behold, akin to witnessing a miracle or meeting an honest lawyer, and it just happened recently in Kenya.
Of course, as soon the pictures of this spotted baby zebra from the Maasai Mara National Reserve were published, the Internet went nuts, making it a viral sensation.
Rahul Sachdev and Antony Tira were the ones to notice the unusual animal while working as tour guides. Good thing they had their cameras with them.
While the tiny zebra looks cute, its unique pattern will most likely be the death of it. You see, zebra’s stripes serve as a defense mechanism. When zebras are feeding or resting, they’re a prime target for a cackle of hyenas or a kill squad of young lion mommas. In a nutshell, their stripes confuse the heck out of the predators, so no one single animal can be attacked. That is unless it has spots in the sea of lines, for example. We wish little Spotty all the best, but realistically speaking he won’t make it till his first birthday.
Nature’s a scary mistress.