But today, we are looking at the family "Equidae". This is a group of animals which includes: Zebras, Donkeys, and Horses. Plurally they are called "Equines".
We will start with the biology of these creatures. God has designed equines beautifully in my opinion.
To start, the back structure of the horse, donkey, and zebra are designed to accommodate human beings. To the point where as a child, I was confused as to the origin of horses, I assumed humans somehow "made them that way".
They are similarly designed to run quickly, have great stamina, and are herbivores and thus, much easier to feed than other fast creatures such as bears.
Another amazing design feature is the stripes of the zebra. So clearly to anyone not looking through secular-goggles they indicate intentional design artistry. But there is more to it than that, they are not just aesthetic, but functional.
Recent studies have revealed a startling truth about the zebra's stripes...they ward off horse flies. Essentially, because of how horsefly vision actually works, the pattern on zebras deters them. It would be akin to painting one of those spiraling optical illusions on a steering wheel when you know an easily car-sick man is attempting to steal your car. God has designed zebras to spare them from the pain of horseflies.
Donkeys are far gentler than horses...easier to tame and breed. They are very laid-back and timid creatures. Yet, why than were horses rode into battle in ancient times, rather than donkeys?
Well, horses are more adventurous and brave than donkeys. Job 39:19-25 reads:
"“Do you give the horse his might?
Do you clothe his neck with a mane?
Do you make him leap like the locust?
His majestic snorting is terrifying.
He paws in the valley and exults in his strength;
he goes out to meet the weapons.
He laughs at fear and is not dismayed;
he does not turn back from the sword.
Upon him rattle the quiver,
the flashing spear, and the javelin.
With fierceness and rage he swallows the ground;
he cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet.
When the trumpet sounds, he says ‘Aha!’
He smells the battle from afar,
the thunder of the captains, and the shouting."
Whereas, donkeys are timid and flee from danger easily. They are quite cautious and patient. This is why we ride donkeys down the Grand Canyon instead of horses. Donkeys are cautious of dangers such as snakes and unstable ground. A horse may become excited by something and begin galloping down the canyon trail which would be quite dangerous.
Both these creatures have their uses, God has designed them to serve mankind in distinct ways. But what about the zebra?
- The reason the man in the picture among others tamed zebras was resistance to African pathogens, horses would often die of diseases in the African continent because of lack of adaptation. Zebras, being native to Africa, have this in spades.
- As mentioned in the "Anatomy" section, zebras stripes deter horseflies. Which may be a plus for the rider in some cases.
- The zebra has thinner fur and lacks a heavy mane, making it more resistant to heat, making them and donkeys ideal for warm-climates, as opposed to horses.
- The zebra is slightly slower than the horse, but makes up for it in increased stamina, which is good for long journeys
- The zebra has better smell, hearing, and night vision than horses, making them good for navigation
Unfortunately, because of the sin (and laziness) of man we have failed to domesticate zebras. Civilization likely would have prospered more quickly had we been more persistent in the domestication of the zebra.
Yet, at the same time, these offspring almost always are sterile. This prevents the wild populations from interbreeding to the point of full merger, essentially wiping out the original forms of creature that God created.
Any two species of equine can produce offspring:
- A male horse and a female donkey produce a "Hinny"
- A male donkey and a female horse produce a "Mule", commonly used throughout history because of its increased strength and stamina
- A male horse and a female zebra produce a "Hebra"
- A male zebra and a female horse produce a "Zorse"
- A male donkey and a female zebra produce a "Dobra"
- A male zebra and a female donkey produce a "Zedonk"
Thanks for reading!