The distinctive monochrome fur pattern in zebras keep the animals cool under the hot African sun, shows a recent study.
The differences in the way the dark and light fur absorb and give off heat create refreshing currents of air that regulate the animals' temperature, the Daily Mail reported.
Scientists from the University of California in the US compared the stripes of zebras from 16 different sites with their living conditions.
A clear link was revealed between temperature and coat pattern, with zebras from the hottest areas having bodies with most stripes.
Earlier, it was thought the stripes' main function is to create an optical illusion that dazzles lions.
"It was argued that the stripes act as camouflage by making the animals harder to spot in woodland light," the scientists said.