One week after the biggest snowstorm on record, and there’s still a lot of snow out there (big surprise). The temperatures have been pretty warm, so the good news is it’s been melting off of the roads. Many of the two-lane roads were reduced to one and a quarter lanes earlier last week because of so much snow on the sides of the road. The huge snow piles are also shrinking out of the parking lots.
Today was 55° and sunny, and the remaining snow mountains at home were still fun to climb up, slide down, and dig through.
**Below I have reposted something I wrote last April about zebra stripes, in light of a new study that concluded the stripes are not used for camouflage. It seems I did a similar experiment last spring 🙂 So what are they for? Read on for more hypotheses.
Originally posted on April 30, 2015:
I’ve been thinking about zebras lately (maybe because there’s a picture of one on my kitchen calendar haha) and the camouflage they have. Human eyes can easily spot the black and white against the green or dried yellow grass, but I assumed that their predators’ eyes work differently. I conducted a little experiment to photograph a toy zebra in the grass and then apply different post-processing effects to mimic what a lion might see.
I was under the impression that cats saw in yellow tones, but I didn’t find any evidence to back that up. I saw a page on livescience that said feline eyes see mostly blues and grays.
I found more information about lion eyes, which are generally color blind according to an article on howstuffworks, but looking further into the topic of zebra stripes only revealed more questions. As it turns out, scientists are not in agreement about what the stripes are actually for.
Some experts believe the stripes are for camouflage, the stripes and wave pattern helping zebras to blend in with their grassy environment. This could benefit a single zebra, and also could help a group of them because all the different stripe patterns standing near each other would make it difficult for a predator to distinguish an individual from the group, according to howstuffworks. I’m also amazed at the fact that each zebra has a unique stripe pattern, similar to our fingerprints.
Other animal scientists believe that the stripes have nothing to do with camouflage, and instead serve as a defense mechanism from disease-carrying tsetse flies. According to another article on livescience, it could be that the flies will have trouble landing on a zebra because the flies can’t see striped surfaces.
The article presents a third theory of zebra stripes, which is that the alternating black and white pattern somehow acts as a cooling system for the zebras, which spend more time out in the hot sun eating than other animals because their digestive systems are inefficient.
This article was published a few months ago and presents the leading theories and criticisms of why zebras have their stripes. It’s interesting that scientists have not come to a conclusion about this, and that it is an area of ongoing research.
Whew, who knew that some fact-checking on lion eyes would lead to such a mystery. I had always assumed that zebra stripes were camouflage, but, well, you know what they say about assuming….
The world is a fascinating place with something new to discover around every corner. Today marks the end of the A to Z Challenge. It’s been fun, and I’ve learned a lot. I hope you have, too.
I’m participating in the A to Z Challenge for the month of April. The idea is to post every day, except Sundays, and end up with one post for each letter of the alphabet. It’s a good challenge to help me to blog every day.
The snow removal crew cut a path this morning. The news said our area got 27″ of snow. That felt about right!
Interesting how the wall of snow is taller on the right. You could also tell when walking–it was deeper in some spots. This is because of the high winds creating snow drifts. It depends on which way the wind blows, and around which obstacles. You could also tell with the cars in the parking lot. Some had more snow than others (mine was almost completely covered!)
The sun was bright and the wind was gone, so shoveling out the cars wasn’t too bad.
This huge pile was made by the plow. They push the snow up into the grass and out of the lot.
I have never seen so much snow deposited from one storm. This usually doesn’t happen here. We’ll usually get several storms, sometimes even one per week, with a few inches here and there. Sometimes the snow will pile this high if we have several big storms in a row, but very rarely getting this all in one shot.
To make it even more strange, this is the first major snow of the winter. We’ve gotten flurries twice this month. So to go from 0 to 27 inches in a day is a pretty dramatic change!
From inside you can see the snow blowing in the wind, but you can’t fully appreciate it until you step out into the blizzard.
With my camera tucked safely in a plastic bag, I took a walk in the afternoon. Or, I should say that I took a trudge through the snow. It came halfway up my shin with some steps, with others it was up past my knees. I wanted to walk to the corner, but the wind was blowing icy snowflakes in my face so I skipped it.
I have taken pictures of this gazebo in spring and in fall.
An icicle hanging off of the gazebo light
As evening came, the light started to look blue.
Snow on pine tree branches
Chilly electric meters
This tree looks like a giant bird about to snatch me up. Probably wasn’t the smartest move to stand under it….
A row of cars covered in snow
A row of trees in the snow
With the wind whipping the snow into drifts, it’s difficult to know how much we got. I think it’s safe to say about a foot.
Here’s the best part about going out in the snow: coming inside and warming up!
I’ve never seen hyacinths this tall. Usually they are sold in pots around Easter and they are about 6-8 inches high. This is the first time I’ve seen them sold as cut flowers.
It took me all day to realize this, but usually at Easter you get a pot with one, maybe two stalks of blooms–this has 5 and that’s why the scent is so strong! Throughout the day, I thought these seemed extra fragrant, haha. Within minutes of getting home from work, my husband started commenting on their aromatic fortitude, and I thought to myself, “I’ve gotten these before, what’s the big deal?” Oh, right, I usually don’t have this many hyacinths packed into our small apartment.
Well, anyway, I think their fragrance is dreamy. So’s the color–I’ve never seen such a pale pink. I’m in love.