Science: Andean Man

One of the toughest environments on earth is the high, thin-aired Andes. Lowland visitors puff & pant after trying to walk a few blocks in Oroya, Peru (12,000 feet) or La Paz, Bolivia (12,400 feet). Some get soroche (mountain sickness) so badly that they lose consciousness. Many lowlanders never get adjusted, and have to move back "down the hill."

But altitude does not bother the local Indians, who have long since adapted themselves to Andean life. They thrive and raise families in altitudes up to 17,000 feet, which is more than a mile above the altitude at which most U.S. Army airmen...

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