The Members Of This Tribe Evolved To Live In The Sea. They Can Hold Up To 13 Minutes In Apnea.

There are people who seem naturally inclined to engage in a certain activity, something they have in their blood, the result of innate passions or perhaps customs derived from the environment in which they were born and raised.

Adaptation is indeed a trait which has always characterized humanity and which, in cases like the one we are going to describe, even goes so far as to promote perfect physical mutations to “respond” in the best possible way to the surrounding environment. . In the Philippines, lives in this regard an incredible tribe, to say the least, whose members seem born – and evolved – to swim and dive to great depths while holding their breath.


image credit: Wonder Badjao/Youtube

Most “ordinary” people, when freediving thinks, wouldn’t be able to hold their breath underwater for more than a handful of seconds, a minute at most. But what would you think if we told you that members of the Bajau, the Filipino population we are talking about, have physical characteristics that allow them to hold their breath for up to 13 consecutive minutes, reaching depths of up to 60 meters?

The Bajau, settled in the Joló Islands and the Zamboaga peninsula, are real born divers. Their body, according to  scientific  research into this particular skill that they possess, has evolved over time to allow them to practice swimming and freediving in unusual ways.


image credit: Wonder Badjao/Youtube

The Bajau have always lived on the sea: they fish, swim, travel with traditional boats, and live in structures built directly on the water. It, therefore, goes without saying that a population also linked to the aquatic element has undergone a natural adaptation which has made it stand out from all the others. Melissa Ilardo, a researcher at the University of Copenhagen, found that the Bajau have anatomy specifically modified to withstand diving and swimming, even at great depths.


image credit: Wonder Badjao/Youtube

Specifically, Bajau’s spleen is up to 50% larger than that of tribesmen living on dry land. It is precisely in this organ, which regulates the supply of red blood cells – and therefore oxygen – in the blood, that lies the “secret” of the apnea that these people are able to withstand. The Bajau spleen, when they are underwater, would be able to promote the optimal conditions for their maintenance in this state, by making them “consume” the good energies and by balancing the blood and oxygen as well as possible. that they can resist.


image credit: Dr.A.Hugentobler/Wikimedia

It is no coincidence that the Bajau are also called ” nomads of the sea “: their knowledge of the waters is innate and millennial and, over the centuries, their genes have changed to become experienced divers. From the spleen to the capacity for deep resistance, through the regulation of oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood: everything, among the Bajau, is “designed” for adaptation to the aquatic environment.


image credit: Torben Venning / Wikimedia

We are therefore facing really special people, whose anatomy can help science to intervene in many treatments for pathologies linked to the lack of oxygen while being able to give us, to us “ordinary” humans, further and extraordinary proof of how nature can manifest itself with fascinating and surprising mechanisms.

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