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Human ‘Sea Nomads’ Can Dive Up To 13 Minutes

Posted by Kevin Krueger on April 25, 2018
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Southeast Asian Bajau ‘sea nomads’ have evolved larger spleens to allow them to dive longer, according to a study published in Cell by Cambridge, Berkeley and Copenhagen researchers

  • The DNA mutation was uncovered in the Bajau people of southeast Asia, according to researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, and the Universities of Cambridge and Copenhagen.
  • Scientists suspect the mutation alters the spleen, a part of the body that’s instrumental in maintaining body functions with limited oxygen.
  • The spleen is important when diving because the organ is full of red blood cells that carry oxygen, according to researchers — so the Bajau’s huge spleens, which are 50% larger than average, can presumably pump more blood cells into the body as they dive. That in turn prevents the human body from becoming oxygen-starved after minutes below water, researchers said.
  • Researchers said the mutation the Bajau have developed is a prime example of how extensively humans can adapt to unusual environments.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article209363524.html

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