Real life X-men: Biology of the world's greatest climbers - the Sherpa
Medical doctor explains how climbing mutants have evolved in the Himalayan Mountains kind of like chubbyemu

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Forget Xavier's School for the Gifted - marvel instead at the real life superheroes on the roof of the world. For years anecdotes circulated amongst climbers, of the superhuman ability of the Sherpa to function at high altitude, when all others succumbed to mountain sickness - or worse. Now science has shown how they have evolved to live in one of the most inhospitable environments on Earth. Thousands of years living in the thin air of the Himalayan plateau has given the Sherpa biology that differs from lowlanders from the very cellular level. ---------- More Medlife Crisis: http://www.medlifecrisis.co.uk https://twitter.com/medcrisis https://www.facebook.com/Medlifecrisis https://www.instagram.com/medcrisis ---------- Much of the Sherpa science in this video comes from the Xtreme Everest team who are doing great work at high altitude to help sick patients (in normal sea-level hospitals!) https://www.xtreme-everest.co.uk/ ---------- Tashi Sherpa kindly got in touch to tell me he is the superhuman carrying that massive load at 00:03:35. His channel is here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5XyMzu6DCU4UAZDxMcareg ---------- It's hard to express how much I love Nepal, please consider visiting responsibly or donating. The 2015 Earthquake killed 9000 and displaced many more. Whilst climbing brings in a lot of money to the Nepalese economy, the government are complicit in the exploitation of Sherpa guides. The Tenzing Norgay (co-1st to summit Everest) Foundation http://www.sherpatenzingnorgay.com/index-noflash.html The Apa Sherpa (21 Everest summits) Foundation https://www.apasherpafoundation.org/ Action Aid Nepal https://www.actionaid.org.uk/about-us/where-we-work/nepal Community Action Nepal https://www.canepal.org.uk/ Save the Children Nepal https://www.savethechildren.org/us/what-we-do/where-we-work/asia/nepal Alpine Ascents (Sherpa Education Fund) http://www.alpineascentsfoundation.org/ I'm also including a link to Maiti Nepal, for whom I raised money for on my first visit, as I think they're a brilliant charity that work to prevent violence towards and trafficking of Nepalese girls and women. http://maitinepal.org/ ---------- Clips credited with thanks. Special mention to two awesome films: Sherpa by Jennifer Peedom http://sherpafilm.com/ Short film from The Feed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtbQgLIuFyg ---------- The video about cycling and haematocrits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT8GZlBBv5k&t=1s ---------- Thumbnail image from Aaron Huey (featured at 00:04:27) ---------- Links to papers cited: Main Sherpa physiology paper: http://www.pnas.org/content/114/24/6382 Evolutionary genetic history of the Sherpa: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5407610/ More about Sherpa and Denisovans: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4134395/ Comparisons between Andeans and Tibetans: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1876443/ and also with Ethiopian https://academic.oup.com/icb/article/46/1/18/661204

Comments

JohnnyDaPrankstaGangsta : *_sea-level sucker_* *_slow land dweeb_* my newest insult

One for Sorrow : Guess they're... *sherpa-human*

Pramesh Dhakal : Once I was trekking in a circuit in Nepal. I had good jacket double shocks, -30 grade boots and expensive gloves. Weather was snowed and very cold. I had to keep any water bottles with me inside sleeping bag else it would froze. And same time I saw 3 Sherpa kids outside playing snow they were in slippers, no shocks or gloves. They had jackets but it was not in great condition. They were happy and playing like they don't give a shit. Lol

The Sophisticated Tarzan : Well It seems I got one more thing to add to my CV.

Squatting Squirrel : Sherpas deserve more than they will ever receive

Morbius1963 : My Sherpa led but our porter, carrying three backpacks, in flip-flops, coached and encouraged me.

A Random Guy On The Internet : I see a lot of people taking the little bit of knowledge that they do have on this subject and make assumptions without much context in this comment section and I would like to clear some of there up. First of all, I am Nepalese. And I've traveled to the Himalayas many times. I haven't climbed Everest, but I have climbed a couple of "smaller" mountains and have met many Sherpas during those times. The main issue I see most people talking about is that the Sheraps have no right to complain since they earn so much more than the General Nepalese population. First of all, that is irrelevance to the health and safety concerns they face. Sure they have great athletic abilities, however there are still thousands of other factors like avalanches, trenches, and equipment failure etc. That they have absolutely no control over at all. And secondly a lot of areas in Nepal dont have proper road and transport structure, so forget about the Himalayas. A pretty risky and expensive plane ride is pretty much the only way to get people and anything really up there. So even if they make a lot of money doing it, they have to spend way more actually getting food and clothes there. I've also seen some people say that it's their job, so they can't complain about it. Well, of course you can, you can complain about anything. And it's not like they have any other choice, it's the only thing they can do. And they have to do it in rapid succession, since those few summer months are the only times they can make an income, so they have to get enough to last all winter. These mountains are actually sacred to the Sherpas. They are literally going against their culture, heritage and religion, putting themselves in god knows how much danger just so they can barely make ends meet. If that's not sad then I don't know what is.

Yorick : 4:17 that glove save is incredible

Satyam Shah : I am nepalese , it was really nice to hear the unravelling truth of Sherpas from you ! thanks

TheDoubleGrin : Excellent video, your articulation and pacing are spot on. I think you delve into the underlying science enough to satisfy curiosity without getting too technical. I hope this channel blows up, doc, you deserve it.

mako : As a climber i've always been interested in one day climbing Everest and knew the Sherpa were the real heroes, i just didn't realise how much more naturally equipped they were than the rest of us until watching this, very informative video, i learned a lot!

Sumann Raaz : I am from Kathmandu,Nepal and i have many Sherpa friends from Bouddha and Kapan. They are really good for good people n somehow superhumans too.

Eoin Kelleher : Would Sherpas make great cyclists? Western kids are evolving bigger thumbs for xbox and texting.

Unknown Soul : I want to say something clever here, but I'm slightly speechless. I loved this video. Man this guy knows his stuff. Absolutely enjoyed learning about this, blew my mind. Thank you

Phurba Sherpa : Ok heres some fun fact for ya'll. Sherpas comes from the eastern region of tibet. SHAR meaning east in tibetan, which later turned into SHER and PA meaning people residing at an area, forms the meaning People of the east. Mutiple races in Nepal are actually from tibet who migrated a long times ago. This list likely and very much includes Gurungs, Tamangs , Sherpa and Hyolmos.

jp jp : Said right they are descended from Tibet many hundred years back . It’s been said those years Tibet ruled by king songtsen who occupied China and mongols and sent lot of armies to conquer neighboring countries including Nepal so it was believed some armies stayed back along those fringes and married Nepali and they descended are Sherpa. “Sher” meaning east and “pa” people . mountaineering is the only source of livelihood for these unique people and moreover Sherpa being Buddhist always believe God dwells in those pristine mountains. It’s very risky jobs and brave Sherpa always selfless in helping western mountaineers.

chris j : No Dhal Baht no life.

kyle robinson : Is altitude sickness really low pressure sickness? Air pressure is half at 20000 ft compared to sea level.

GuideSource International : Thank you for a well-done vid regarding the Sherpa physiology. I have guided and worked with these wonderful people and climbers for decades and they are not only some of the strongest people on earth, but some of the kindest and most generous. Bless them all. RJ Fleming, Mountain Guide, NNMGA info@guidesource.com

Poornakumar Das : The video is a revelation to me. Four decades ago, a was roaming around in Himalayas (its all regions) at nothing less than 10000 feet height, I knew that there the 'locals' are different, even superior to me - the one keen on mountaineering, but born at sea level. These guys are our treasured physiological 'gems'. We need them more. I learnt one thing though, the heard way - Never 'Drink' at those altitudes.

BRONXGIRL BLAZIN' : It makes me sick how a man will climb Everest 15 TIMES and has to serve coffee at 75 yro, and a man will climb Everest 2 and live his life in relative comfort and celebrity...... FOR DOING SOMETHING SHERPA DO MULTIPLE TIMES A SEASON.

Justin : 6:21. "Mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell"

Medlife Crisis : Keen to hear your thoughts - too long? Too boring? Too scienceful? Or not scienceish enough? Or do you just want to register your objection to my face? I know the autofocus went nuts, unfortunately my cousin had borrowed my lenses so was left with this crazy thing. Blame her! I hope it didn't make you feel too seasick.

Tim Lawn : This was an excellent summary of a complex topic. I have received lectures from Dan Martin and Ned Gilbert, two big names in this field of research, and you're information was more or less spot and extremely concise. If you fancy looking at this from another angle go have a look at how Sherpa adaptation differs from Andean populations. A fascinating example of evolution finding strikingly different solutions to the same problem. A recent paper has also indicated a third, unique style of adaption in Ethiopian highlanders!

Fried Mule : Was wondering, how would the Sherpa's body behave in space, compare with us mud dwellers?

Kathleen McCafferty : barely understood anything but it was interesting

Armanlex : At 2:32 you are giving me chubbyemu vibes. I like it!! Edit: Ok I resumed the video and I literally paused right before the chubby emu picture showed up. I'm telling the truth!

Brian Harder : This is quite good. Great to catch up on the latest findings. I spent a month with Peter Hackett on his 50th birthday climb of Ama Dablam. We spent hours talking altitude medicine and I've been a geek ever since. I couldn't agree more with your sentiments about the Sherps and Nepal in general. Chapeau!

Lisa : Once I started viewing your video about Sherpas I couldn’t stop! It was very well presented, informative and incredibly interesting! I immediately subscribed and now must view all your videos. I am looking forward to your future topics. Thank you.

anjila rai : Sherpa means a mountain worrier our nation .s pride n all nepali proud of them

testibg Cggj : Sherpas are also in the British Commandos ( undisclosed ofcourse by the govt )

Marco J : This was fantastic, and I learnt so much; it was scienceful enough for me. It was a great at 10 minutes, but you could get away with making it shorter. Although i knew Sherpa people were special I didn't realise just one tiny gene can have such an impact. More human diversity videos like this would be awesome

Anthony Jackson : So they would do terribly in ocean level swim race?

____________________ : The chubbyemu reference had me laughing! Good video. I like the fact you cite your references too. I also see the double meaning in your channel name. I suspect you’ve been practising medicine for a long time and reached burnout. So you’re trying to rediscover control of your time, while still doing what you both know and love; medicine.

Walrus Lmao : Found your channel recently, really good content! Subscribed and looking forward to seeing more of you

Peaky Blinders : No objections at all.. I've found this highly educational and its only made me think of How to increase my own health etc Brilliant video!

Nitesh Raj Tiwari : Thank you so much doctor for these amazing facts. I am a medical student from Nepal and would surely like to do further research on this topic in near future.

Love Chloe : Your jokes are clever!

Dennis I : Great video! Good narration, perfect pace. And glad to see you delve deeper into the science (without going to deep), which really differentiates your work from other Youtubers!. Keep it going!

A Fruit Shop Owner : Oh wow, this channel is amazing! I just found this video on /r/videos and it reminded me of Chubbyemu's youtube channel. I love this kind of content, keep it up doc!

Brian Messemer : Liked within 10 seconds, subbed within 3 minutes. Fantastic. Looking forward to future content!

Marichel Salcedo : Thank you so much for this interesting and all the very informative videos...

Montana Tatum : I've got to say I'm very impressed with the way you did this video, with every statement you presented facts and proof with without being to technical or egotistical, with just the right amount of humor. I dig it man. Subscribed? √.

Siraj Ahmad : 'Living amongst us' is so true for me. Hello from Nepal.

titanium9000 : Very informative and just enough humor to keep things really interesting. This video is a breath of fresh (sea-level) o2.. Thumbs up!*

Tyler Ash : i love the low key shout out to ChubbyEmu 10/10 love the videos bro

Charlie Branson : THE POWERHOUSE OF THE CELL!

kamal lama : Great.love from sherpa.

Marc Gaudette : Just found your channel. My second video view in your collection. Fascinating. Riveting information!