Sea nomads of Indonesia (5 photos)

13 April 2024

How long can a person normally not breathe underwater? 30 to 90 seconds is the norm. But in Indonesia, people from the Bajau people may not breathe under water... 13 minutes. And these are not athletes, but almost everyone. One might even wonder if they are people like us!?

They spend 60% of the day in water, more than on land, here you inevitably evolve

Because their body structure is not exactly the same as that of ordinary people. They have an unusually large spleen - usually 50% larger! This “deviation” developed over several thousand years of life on the water.

The spleen helps distribute oxygen to the brain and heart; when oxygen becomes scarce, the “diving reflex” is activated. The heart rate decreases, blood begins to supply only vital organs, and the spleen itself contracts, pushing oxygenated red blood cells into the circulation.

Children also swim from an early age, because their organs grow under the influence of the marine environment and diving.

It is noteworthy that a large spleen also helps seals dive for a long time. And the seals with the largest spleen are considered the best for evolution; scientists have already traced their evolutionary mechanism.

The Bajau lived on houseboats for hundreds of generations, roaming the waters of Asia. This is a tribe of fishermen who spend 60% of their day in the water, and their bodies have inevitably adapted. Reminds me of Kevin Costner's character from Waterworld, who had gills.

Listening to the spleen with ultrasound. It really is twice as big for everyone.

Did they break the record?

Bajau do not participate in competitions. It is known that the longest stay under water is 24 minutes and 37 seconds. The record was set in 2021 by Budimir Shobat from Croatia, but before the dive he also inhaled pure oxygen, which is not entirely fair.

Because among the Bajau people, every skilled fisherman can do 13 minutes, and not one in a thousand. At the same time, they dive to a depth of 70 meters using a stone to search for mollusks at the bottom and check traps.

This is what their houses look like - they are placed on stilts, the deeper into the pond, the better, so that they can immediately jump into the water from the porch.

It's funny how living conditions still force people to change their appearance. For example, Tibetans have slightly longer arms than everyone else. And in Thailand, the Moken people know how to look underwater without pain; they swim with their eyes open, collecting tiny shellfish and other food on the ocean floor.

They didn’t upgrade the bungee’s vision, they invested in the branch with the spleen

If you recruit Bajau girls for a synchronized swimming team and train them, they can take all the gold! And all this literally in one breath, what a style!

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