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The Striped Horse - Why People Didn't Tame the Zebra
Herds of black and white cloven-hoofed animals roam the endless expanses of the savannah around the clock. Zebras not only look like domesticated horses, but are also their direct relatives. So why has the steppe horse been domesticated, but not the zebra? It would have been great for transporting goods and people.
Many have tried.
Europe learned of the existence of the zebra during the first colonizers, who brought not only slaves and local resources to their homeland, but also animals. To the Europeans who came to Africa, the zebra initially seemed to be an excellent alternative to the common horse as a rider.
An important argument in favor of zebras was their excellent health. The zebra is resistant to many diseases and is not afraid of the tsetse fly, which is dangerous for ordinary horses. But colonizers failed to tame the zebra, as did the natives, who tried for centuries to domesticate the species.
Must be able to obey
Not every wild animal can be domesticated. The species must meet many criteria. Among the most important of these are: the presence of an internal social structure, submissive nature and omnivorousness. But the most important criterion is the ability to breed in captivity. Most animals refuse to breed in conditions of captivity.
And the zebra loses out to horses on all these factors. The zebra behaves sharply and aggressively, quickly running away. Such behavior is due to the environment in which the fake ungulate lives. The presence of harsh predators has forced the zebra in the course of evolution to learn to defend itself. An adult can kick even a lion if cornered.
They have their own atmosphere.
The lack of social structure within the herd has led to panicky behavior in zebras. They do not have a leader as in other herds, so humans cannot replace them for the duration of their domestication. Within the pack, there are several harem families.
The head of the family is the male, the other members of the family are females who are not related to each other. There is a hierarchy among the females. The foal can stand on its feet immediately after being born, and in an hour it is able to run quickly.
I'm weak and I can't do that at all.
The striped animal has an interesting reflex. The zebra instantly ducks if a lasso flies at it. Also, a zebra cannot breed on a farm or in an aviary naturally. The zebra's physical structure does not allow it to be used for the same purposes as horses. The animal's back is much weaker than that of its congeners, so it cannot carry heavy loads.
Or perhaps the zebra is just very shrewd and pretends to avoid domestication. Many animals have already amazed us with their outstanding intelligence.