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Thursday February 22, 2024

Fish People: Meet Bajau tribals who can hold breath for 10 minutes underwater — But how?

Bajau tribe never sets foot on land; instead, they inhabit the azure waters that encircle the southern Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia

By Web Desk
November 27, 2023
Bajau community member near her home in the water. — X/@aprathap
Bajau community member near her home in the water. — X/@aprathap

A genetic abnormality known as the "sea nomad gene" allows an amazing tribe of fish people known as Bajau to hold their breath underwater for 10 minutes in order to spear meals.

Larger spleens were created by the Bajau people of Southeast Asia so that they could store more oxygen in their blood for free diving.

The water tribe never sets foot on land; instead, they inhabit the azure waters that encircle the southern Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

They are called "sea gypsies" because of their well-known itinerant way of life.

These fishermen's incredible diving skills make them appear like real-life Aquaman.

Because of their enlarged spleens, Bajau people can submerge up to 200 feet and stay submerged for up to 10 minutes.

Spoken like a fist, the spleen stores excess oxygen in the bloodstream like a biological "scuba tank" and is situated adjacent to the stomach.

Dr Ilardo of the University of Copenhaden spoke to BBC about, "The spleen is a reservoir for oxygenated red blood cells, so when it contracts, it gives you an oxygen boost."

The spleen sizes of the community's divers and non-divers are comparable, according to research by Dr Ilardo and her associates.

This might imply that the expansion is a result of evolution rather than just a result of diving.

It's possible that the Bajau evolved a larger spleen in order to endure the prolonged, frequent dives they engaged in for thousands of years.

"They dive repeatedly for eight hours a day, spending about 60 per cent of their time underwater," said Dr Ilardo.

These dives are only done with a weight belt and a wooden mask or goggles.

The sea nomads utilise their extraordinary abilities to catch supper, mostly fish, lobsters, and sea cucumbers.

The latter is utilised as an aphrodisiac as well as a medication.

The tribe is self-sufficient and survives by using traditional marine hunting methods.

They trade excess fish with islanders to obtain necessities that they are unable to locate in the ocean.

The Bajau choose to live in homemade boats and stilted wooden cottages than conventional homes.

Additionally, rather than attending school to study arithmetic or history, the youngsters of the tribe learn how to capture fish using a net.