Science HomeworkSummary: Author Joshua Rapp Learn, writes recent news article, “How Stressed Out are Zebras? Just Ask their Poop.” This article touches on the wild zebras that drop vital clues about stress levels, as they drop some poop. The wellbeing of zebras is dependent on glucocorticoid hormones that can help regulate stress responses in animals that influence whether they will fight or flee. These hormones can indicate high or very low levels of stress in the animal. Conservation scientists discovered that these biochemicals are found in keratin, including your skin, nails, hair, and most importantly droppings. Scientists reiterate that they have certainly used poop to determine levels of stress, however have not done so with poop-embedded hormones. These biologists found the cape zebras to be the perfect subject, as they have a viable population and have distinctive pattern that sets them apart from their cousins (plains zebras). Suzanne Schultz, who is a university biologist emphasizes that the cape zebras are not doing well (most likely) due to the fact that they have been relegated to a sub-optimal habitat. Schultz and her colleagues used numerous poop samples over the course of 6 years (from 2011) and recorded the testosterone hormone levels to check male health and compared their findings with general species information. In the end they came to 3 overarching conclusions; the populations enlisted high levels of testosterone during mating season (cause 1), high stress during the cold seasons, and lastly in struggling populations, the animals had more constant testosterone and stress levels. Schultz mentions, “They never had a break, essentially. Over the two-year period they showed evidence of chronic stress.” This shows that the zebras experienced different levels of stress at different times over the year. Ultimately, the proposed hypothesis is if you have animals in habitats that don’t have sufficient resources, you are physiologically stressing the animals. The poop-to-hormones method

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