Sunday, 13 October 2013

The Rau Zebra of 2025?

Like I mentioned on my previous posts, some Rau Zebras of the Quagga Project already resemble the quagga quite well regarding their degree of stripe reduction. How would they look like if they had a more brownish coat? This question triggered me to do a little drawing of how the most advanced Rau Zebras of 2025 might look like. The youngest animals of the project are part of the fourth generation (F4), and since zebras have a generation span of about four years, there will be at least F6 individuals in 2025. This is what I imagine the most progressed results at that date to look like: 

As you see, I didn't reduce the striping much more than in the youngest Rau zebras up-to-date, I mainly added brown hair. Reducing the stripes turned out to be comparably easy by selective breeding, while increasing the brownish colour of the coat is the bigger challenge according to the project. Therefore they want to select more strongly on that feature in future breeding. 
Comparing my hypothetical future Rau zebra with stuffed Quagga specimens, I see some striking similarities, but also differences. 

Quagga specimen in Berlin
For example, the stripes on the head and neck area are broader in the Quagga than in contemporaneous Rau zebras. I am not sure if the stripes in Quaggas were deep black or very dark brown, because those old stuffed skins bleached over the time and most likely do not represent the true colour of the animals in life. 

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