Video: How people evolved for diving in Indonesia
2023 Author: Seth Attwood | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 22:42
The Indonesian Bajo tribe in the process of evolution acquired fantastic abilities in the form of the ability to submerge in water more than 60 meters, and also hold their breath for about 13 minutes. This became possible due to the fact that they have a 50% enlarged spleen. As a result, this is the first known example of human adaptation to deep diving in history.
For these abilities, the representatives of the Baggio tribe can rightfully be called "people-fish".
For over 1000 years, the Baggios have sailed the seas of South Asia on their floating homes, catching fish by diving after them with spears.
Some representatives of this people, armed with a sinker and goggles, are able to dive to a depth of 70 meters.
And in this case, it is the spleen that plays a key role, transferring the diver's body to survival mode.
As a result of immersion, the heart rate slows down, while the blood is directed to vital organs, while the spleen contracts to release cells with oxygen into the bloodstream.
Shrinking the spleen can increase oxygen levels in the body by as much as 9%.
A new study found that the spleens of Bajo people are 50 percent larger than those of their land-based Salwan neighbors.
Lead scientist Melissa Ilardo of the University of Cambridge, who participates in the study, says: “Little is known about the human spleen from a physiological and genetic point of view, but we do know that deep diving seals like Weddell seals have disproportionately large spleens. … I think that if breeding increased the spleen in seals, then the same could potentially happen to humans.”
Since bajos don't dive to compete, it is not known exactly how long they can survive underwater.
True, one of the representatives of the tribe said that once he could stay under water for 13 minutes.
Ilardo spent several months in Jaya Bakti, Indonesia, collecting genetic samples and performing ultrasound scans of the Bajo and Salwan people.
She found that the spleens were enlarged among all the Bajo people, without exception, even those who do not dive under water.
“People are pretty plastic creatures,” she said. "We can only adapt to a range of different extreme conditions through lifestyle changes or changes in our behavior, so it is not a fact that we can acquire actual genetic adaptation to diving."
The DNA analysis carried out showed that the genetic code of the Baggio contains the PDE10A gene, which the representatives of the Salwan tribe do not have. It is this gene that is believed to alter the size of the spleen by regulating thyroid hormone levels.
Note that the report of this interesting study was published in the journal Cell.
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