Dr. Tim Caro, professor at UC Davis, wildlife biologist, author of “Zebra Stripes”

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Dr. Tim Caro —a professor at UC Davis and wildlife biologist whose new book is “Zebra Stripes”—traces some of the arc of his academic career, including how he became interested in researching animal coloration.9780226411019 Caro goes on to explain how this focus led to examining, as thoroughly documented in his new book, the purpose of zebra stripes (a debate that extends back to at least the era of Charles Darwin), noting that nearly 20 hypotheses were considered—and tested. He addresses one hypothesis that is commonly advanced to explain zebra stripes—that they’re there to confuse or neutralize predators, like lions and hyenas. Caro notes why he ruled that one out, while describing other efforts—3874c135-ba98-42b8-89ec-abe7624930aeincluding he and his colleagues building models of zebras (and other animals) and Caro himself donning a zebra suit—to test other hypotheses. Spoiler alert: The black and white stripes seem to serve as a significant deterrent for biting flies, though it’s still not entirely clear why. Caro mentions that he and his son are collaborating on a children’s book about zebras and their stripes, as well as his next research—about to be unveiled—deals with the coloration of another black and white animal: the giant panda. (http://wfcb.ucdavis.edu/people/faculty/caro-tim/caro-lab/)

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ALSO: I spoke briefly with Terry Pivinsky, an artist whose work is exhibited in a solo art show, “Animals We Love,” through Feb. 18, at Complete Sweet Shoppe in Pinellas Park.   (www.facebook.com/terry.pivinsky, www.facebook.com/completesweetshop/ )

 

COMEDY CORNER: Brian Regan’s “Whale Noises” (http://brianregan.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Aimee Mann’s “Goose Snow Cone,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Loudon Wainwright’s “Animal Song”

AUDIO ARCHIVE:

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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