People, Environment

Zebra’s Extinct Cousin Coming Back

Zebra’s Extinct Cousin Coming BackZebra’s Extinct Cousin Coming Back

A zebra-like horse known as a ‘quagga’ that disappeared off the face of the earth in the 1880 could once-again roam the plains of Africa after a 30-year project by South African scientists. A cousin of the zebra, the quagga was labeled extinct after over-hunting by European settlers over 100 years ago. Quaggas look very similar to the modern day zebra, although the famous stripes only appear on the front half of their bodies. And unlike the zebra, they are brown along the rear half of their body. Using DNA and selective breeding, the Quagga Project at the University of Cape Town has now bred animals that look almost identical, essentially resurrecting the little-known species for the first time ever. The group claims that the key to their success was genetic analysis, which revealed that they were a sub-species of the plains zebra.  “The progress of the project has in fact followed that prediction. And in fact we have over the course of four, five generations seen a progressive reduction in striping, and lately an increase in the brown background color showing that our original idea was in fact correct,” said Eric Harley the project’s leader.