Life at High Altitudes – Essay Example

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The paper "Life at High Altitudes" is an outstanding example of an essay on anthropology. Sea levels are gotten when the distance between the high tide and low tide is measured and divided by two. It forms the base for which elevation is measured when it comes to land. The elevation of the land is measured by the distance of the surface of the ocean (sea level) to the surface of the earth (land) (Microsoft Encarta 2007). When the distance of elevation between the land or atmosphere and the sea level is measured, it is called Altitude (Microsoft Encarta 2007).

As we climb higher in altitude, we notice that, among other elements, the atmospheric pressure is increasingly altered. The air decreases in pressure and is cooler as you go further away from the sea level. This is caused by two main factors: gravity and atmospheric heat. Gravitational force acts on the air molecules to pull them nearer to the ground (Atmospheric Pressure 2000). Due to lower atmospheric pressure, humans and animals have difficulties living at certain altitudes high above sea level.

As we go further away for sea level, we notice that at high altitudes there is the partial pressure of oxygen (Peacock 1998). This level is also attributed to some kinds of lethal sicknesses, which include: high altitude cerebral edema, altitude sickness, and high altitude pulmonary edema (Cymerman and Rock 1994). As humans and animals climb high in altitude, there is an increasing urge for adapting to the change in atmospheric pressure. This becomes possible with the fact that the change in altitude and atmospheric pressure alter breathing rate, heartbeat rate and blood chemistry (Muza et al 2004).

It takes days, if not weeks, months or even years to adapt to this environment. But as the ascension increases above 8,000 meters, living beings find it difficult to adapt and then will, sooner or later, die. This is called the Death Zone (Clark 1998). Life at High Altitudes Life at high altitudes has been seen to be slightly different from that at sea level. This is where adaptation and mutation come into play. To live at high altitudes, it is noticed; people alter body chemistry to adapt.

People living at high altitudes have different ways of adapting to their environment. Another interesting fact is that they have natural abilities that are exceptional to them alone (Mayell 2004). Below are three different groups of people in three different environments but with one common similarity – they all live at high altitudes. They have adapted to their environment differently. These people are; the inhabitants of the Andean Altiplano, the inhabitants of the Tibetan Plateau, and the Ethiopian Highlanders. These are three different groups of people all living at high altitudes but with different ways of adapting to their environment.

While the Andean Altiplano is a situation in America, the Tibetan Plateau is in Asia, and the Ethiopian Highlands are in Africa.

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