Real Superhumans

Kath Nightingale, BBC Science Focus, lists real life superhuman who push themselves to the limit ! October 2020.

Pic: Aquatic Human Ancestor. org

1.Underwater Moken Nomads

Our eyes are adapted to a life on land, which means we can only see blurry shapes when we swim underwater without goggles. But children in a tribe of sea nomads – the Moken – who reportedly learn to swim before they can walk, can see well enough to collect shells, sea cucumbers and clams from the seabed.

There are around 2,000 to 3,000 Moken living in the Andaman Sea, of the coasts of Myanmar and Thailand.

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden estimate that Moken children have more than twice the underwater visual clarity of European children, even though their sight on land is the same.

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They focus underwater by constricting their pupils and changing the shape of the eye’s lens. The researchers found that European children can be trained to see just as well as the Moken.

It’s difficult to tell whether Moken children learn this better vision from a young age or whether evolution has played a role, so we might all be able to see a little better beneath the waves if we put our minds to it.

2. Cold Resistance Himalayan Monks

Up in the climes of the Himalayas, there are tales of monks who use breathing and meditation to raise their body temperatures to the extent that they can dry wet sheets wrapped around their bodies, casting off steam into the freezing air.

Researchers from the US and Singapore have investigated these claims by measuring the monks’ core (armpit) and peripheral (finger) temperatures. During the measuring, they asked them to use the breathing techniques either with or without the meditation. The researchers found that while the breathing could raise body temperature, adding the meditation increased it to that seen in a typical fever.

‘Iceman’ Wim Hof has used similar techniques to the monks to achieve the world record for longest ice bath (one hour, 52 minutes and 42 seconds) and has even run a marathon in the Arctic Circle wearing just a pair of shorts.

So what might be the benefit of being able to boost your own body temperature? Adaptation to cold environments is an obvious one, but higher body temperatures are also linked to better cognitive performance and improved immunity.

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