Special wind tunnel experiments on 19 Indian geese (Anser indicus) were carried out by researchers to understand how high they can fly.
The researchers trained the geese to fly in a wind tunnel wearing various sensors that recorded various types of data including heart rate and blood oxygen level. The same researchers simulated in the wind tunnel the same conditions that can occur at a certain altitude.
These birds have a better heart and lungs than the rest of the birds. Their large, thin lungs allow deep breathing, while the heart allows more oxygen to be pumped into the muscles. Simulating an attitude level similar to the one at the top of Mount Everest, with 7% oxygen, the heart rate and wing beat rate of these animals remained the same.
These birds are able to cool their blood and absorb more oxygen, which compensates for the very fine air level. The birds flew under these reduced metabolic conditions for a few minutes, which shows that they can fly at certain altitudes similar to those above the tip of Everest, although of course the real conditions could be different since it still takes several hours to get to that altitude even by the birds.
However, this research shows that what some mountaineers said when they climbed the summit of Everest, that is to say that they saw birds flying far above their heads, above an altitude of around 6 miles, can be considered a real thing.
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