Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Human Variation & Race

1. High altitudes have alternating daily extremes of climate that can start of from hot, burning days, to freezing nights. There is also results in rapid dehydration due to the strong winds and low humidity. A decrease in air pressure is also cause by high altitudes which can disturb homeostasis because of the decrease of oxygen that is being released through the vascular system. This is what causes many people to get sick and have a number of symptoms.
2. Short-Term Adaption: There is an increase in breath followed by increase heart rate. The heart rate actually doubles, even if one is simply resting. Pulse rate and blood pressure is also affected and it increases due to the low levels of oxygen.
Facultative Adaption: Once acclimatization takes place, additional red blood cells followed by capillaries are produced in order to carry more oxygen. The lungs are also impacted and their size increases.
Development Adaption: Individuals who have lived in high altitude areas such as the mountains are more likely have had the ability to adapt to the high altitudes. The populations that are more successful are those whose ancestors have lived in high altitude areas for thousands of years.
Cultural Adaption: There are cultures of people that live in high altitude areas like mentioned above. If their ancestors have lived in areas such as high mountains, that can be a cultural adaption. There are also climbers who prefer to climb in areas with high altitude for fun and an adrenaline rush.
3. I think there are many different benefits one can get by studying human variation from this perspective. There are many people who haven't been in high altitude areas and don't know how it feels like to be there. There are also individuals who live there and if they were to suddenly live in 'normal' areas, they might have the complication or struggles. This information can be used in a productive way because people would know ahead of time what to expect being in high altitude areas. For example, the climbers; I'm sure their very first time they didn't know what to expect or maybe even panicked with the decrease of oxygen. Having this information can prepare us all and inform us of the effects one will receive.

4. Personally, I don't think you can use race to understand the variation of the adaptions listed. I've always believed that race is nothing but physical appearance, that how I always viewed it. I don't think race has anything to do with connections especially on how you can adapt to high attitudes. There are cultures that live in high altitude areas but I think that's because they were born and raised in those areas. This is why the study of environmental influences on adaptions is a better way to understand human variation.


  1. I will have to say that i honestly really enjoyed your blog post. it helped me understand what each of these adaptaion really meant which personally really helped me out alot more !

  2. Good description on the dangers of high altitude stress. Are their any additional dangers that might impact women when they are pregnant and traveling in high altitude environments?

    Correct identification on adaptations for your short term adaptations, but how does this help? Yes, it is in response to low oxygen pressure, but how does this help maintain homeostasis?

    Good description of your faculatative trait.

    "Individuals who have lived in high altitude areas such as the mountains are more likely have had the ability to adapt to the high altitudes. "

    Yes... but how? The question is how long term populations have adapted to high altitude stress and you are essentially answering "by adapting to high altitude stress". Do you see how this isn't answering the question? How are high altitude populations different from other populations in ways that help them deal with high altitude?

    More information and knowledge is always a good thing, but can you think of a more concrete way this information can be used? Can understanding the way high altitude impact the absorption of oxygen into the body have any medical implications? Can learning about new genes that address high altitude stress have genetic research implications?

    "I don't think race has anything to do with connections especially on how you can adapt to high attitudes. "

    This can be a very difficult concept to explain as most of us don't think much about what race actually is, but with the use of the word "connections", you are touching on an important issue of a causal relationship. In order to use one factor to explain another, the first needs to cause the other. We see this relationship with the environment and adaptations. We don't see it with race and adaptations. Race is a social construct, subject to bias and interpretation, based upon external phenotypes. In a sense, adaptations (in terms of our external appearance) influence how race is defined, not the other way around.

    Good images.

  3. Awesome job with this post! You kept it very clear and to the point with the information you presented. I also enjoyed the images your chose, they were a good match-up with the information displayed. Good job!