Bees could scale MOUNT EVEREST
Insects can fly at altitudes with air so thin it would kill a human
Bumblebees are known for being poor flyers due to relatively small wings
Researchers placed six bees in a flight chamber and altered the altitude
All were able to fly when the air density at 7,500m (24,606ft) was simulated
While two of the bees exceeded altitudes of 9,000m (29,528ft)
By comparison, Mount Everest's peak is 8,848 (29,000ft) above sea level.
By VICTORIA WOOLLASTON
PUBLISHED: 10:38 GMT, 5 February 2014
The flight of the bumblebee may seem clumsy and slow, but new research claims these humble insects can reach altitudes higher than the peak of Mount Everest.
Despite their rotund bodies and relatively small wings, researchers from Wyoming found that bees can negotiate air so thin it would kill a human - making them the finest flyers in the insect world.
In a series of experiments, scientists placed wild bees in a flight chamber and while all managed to fly at heights of 7,500m (24,606ft), two exceed heights of 9,000m (29,528ft).
By comparison, Mount Everest's peak sits at 8,848m (29,000ft) above sea level, and its summit is considered to be the limit of human endurance.
If this summit was just 100m higher, it would be beyond the reach of climbers. Those venturing above 8,000m (26,200ft) are said to be entering the ‘death zone’.