APR 21, 2018 11:48 AM PDT

The Bajau of Indonesia Evolved Larger Spleens

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch
2 4 139

Small changes in our genes help give us our unique traits. Scientists have found that one genetic variation carried by the Bajau, people of Southeast Asia, has probably allowed them to hunt underwater for lengthy stretches of time. Over 1,000 years and many generations, these folks have spent a lot of time holding their breath as they free dive to collect fish and shellfish.

"This is a fascinating example of how humans can, in a relatively short amount of time, adapt to a local environment," said researcher Rasmus Nielsen of the University of California, Berkeley.

The body has several ways to get by in an environment that is low in oxygen. Simply increasing lung capacity is one way, another is to increase the production of red blood cells, so more oxygen moves to the body. Another, described by the scientists in this work, is to increase the size of the spleen, where red blood cells carrying oxygen are stored. If a person is diving, the spleen can contract and released those stored cells and their oxygen into circulation.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
JUL 22, 2018
Videos
JUL 22, 2018
No language needed
If you don’t have language, how do you think? If you know fewer words, can you think fewer thoughts? Or perhaps less complex thoughts? That’s t
JUL 24, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
JUL 24, 2018
How Does It Taste? Want Some Salt (and Microplastics)?
Looks can be very deceiving: pristine, pure-like grains of sea salt can be the perfect trojan horse for the invasion of the omnipresent environmental villa
JUL 31, 2018
Health & Medicine
JUL 31, 2018
The Gross Things That Lurk in Swimming Pools
The warmer temperatures associated with Summertime inevitably lead to more swimming pool visits, but have you ever stopped to think about the gross things
AUG 07, 2018
Videos
AUG 07, 2018
Can "Going Keto" Affect Your Skin?
The ketogenic diet is quite trendy and is hailed by health professionals and followers for weight loss, metabolic benefits and cholesterol management. It i
AUG 10, 2018
Videos
AUG 10, 2018
Cannabis Compounds Used as Anti-Cancer Agent
The video below sites several studies done on cannabinoids and how they can be used as an anti-cancer agent. Cannabinoids have multiple properties tha
AUG 10, 2018
Videos
AUG 10, 2018
Can the Black Death Make a Comeback?
The bacterium that causes plague was never wiped out.
Loading Comments...