Adapting to High Altitudes

When sports teams are acclimated to playing in lower elevations, it is often a challenge for them to travel to travel higher. They usually spend some time getting used to the conditions instead of immediately playing a strenuous game. The situation is more dramatic for people who need to live in much greater elevations.

Tibet is the roof of the world. This article reaches new heights with a study of adaptation to high altitudes from a creation science perspective.
Tibet and Mt. Everest credit: Flickr / Göran Höglund (Kartläsarn) (CC BY 2.0)

Humans need to adapt to lower air pressure and oxygen levels. The Master Engineer designed epigenetic switches so that certain genes would be expressed in hemoglobin and many other areas. Also, it is not just a couple of genes that are mobilized. Like other living things, humans were "frontloaded" with the ability to adapt to changes such as high altitudes. Just ask the Tibetans and take note of the Denisovans.

One marvellous characteristic of living things is the ability to respond to their environment in a way that sustains life and allows for procreation. This is clear evidence of a wise Creator who blessed living creatures to reproduce and fill the earth (Genesis 1:21–22, 27–28; 8:17; Isaiah 45:18). Of great interest to creation biologists is the underlying design that has enabled living creatures to adapt to numerous, varied environments in a bit over 4,300 years since the Flood.

Using the history in Genesis and observations from the world around us, creation scientists recognize that within various created kinds of plants and animals, considerable diversity has arisen.1 While it is well known that substantial variation has arisen in domestic species (e.g. dogs) within the last few hundred years, evolutionists imagined that the process is orders of magnitude slower in the wild. Given the biblical timeframe, this is clearly not the case. In recent decades, scientific studies have confirmed many examples of rapid diversification in the wild. Creation geneticists have begun to explore some of the mechanisms that appear to be involved.

As more studies uncover the rapid pace of changes and their underlying mechanisms, it becomes increasingly apparent that God designed His creatures with an amazing ability to adapt to a wide variety of challenges that He knew they would encounter in this world. A brief glimpse of this can be seen in organisms that have adapted to living at high altitudes.

To read the rest, climb on over to "Many paths lead to high-altitude adaptation". It could be the high point of your day.