Sea Nomads: First Humans Now Genetically Adapted to Holding Breath Underwater for Long Periods

The human “merpeople” of Bajau Laut show an extraordinary evolution of diving to depths of approximately 17 stories. Spending 60% of their days underwater of depths close to 260 feet, these seafarers could be closely related to the mythology of “merpeople”.

Evolution, a controversial topic throughout time, the people of Bajau Laut has proven to be beneficial for their day to day life. Since fishing is their main source of livelihood, the traditional way of diving has changed the genetic adaptation of these humans to be underwater for up to 3 minutes. mind you the normal human can only hold their breath for 30 seconds.

Go ahead time yourself. Just make sure you don’t pass out.

Research in the past showed these human mermaids and mermen have larger spleens than their close land dwelling neighbors. The size of a spleen is a paramount factor of diving because it holds the red blood cells, which during a dive compresses and releases these extra cells into our bloodstream enlarging the spleen’s ability to carry oxygen.

This same trait is found in seals which are widely known as the mermaids of the sea. Another gene found in these divers was T4, being created by the thyroid gland, it heightens the amount of energy that our body can use benefiting the spleen’s function. These examples have been compared to those villagers who live in the traditional ways but do not dive to prove that these are inherited traits passed down from genes and from generations of diving.

These researchers have found this information beneficial for treating hypoxia- when body tissue has trouble getting enough oxygen because of trauma or illness. The Tibetans also show a genetic adaptation compared to the Chinese of more red blood cells to reimburse for the low oxygen levels in the air at higher altitudes. Or the Inuits in Greenland who have genetic mutations of the large amounts of fat they eat and how it is stored without the risk of heart disease.

Different studies throughout time have shown that genetic evolution is possible. Are you still holding your breath if so congratulations you still have 2 minutes and 30 seconds to go to live up to the Bajau Laut divers?

These human “merpeople” show eccentric diving skills, a way to supplement their way of surviving, helpful attributions to science and carrying on the traditions passed on.

What do you think?

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