A new study has been conducted on the Bajau people of Malaysia and the Philippines. The small community is known for their underwater abilities to hold their breath for a long amount of time and free-diving abilities. While these features are amazing they also could be part of the natural selection.

The Bajau People

The "sea-nomads," which the Bajaus have been referred to, make their living by working eight-hour shifts fishing. A small percentage of the Bajau people still live in the traditional huts and houseboats that are stationed above the water. Simply put, they're not "land people."

While the Bajau divers today use equipment to help with their breathing when they search for the sea-critters, their ancestors have engaged in the breath-holding technique for thousands of years. Their fascinating abilities have prompted the University of Copenhagen and the University of California-Berkeley to conduct scientific studies on the anatomy of the Bajau people and the results were shared on the Cell.

"Overall, our results suggest that the Bajau have undergone unique adaptations associated with spleen size and the diving response, adding new examples to the list of remarkable genetic adaptations humans have experienced in recent evolutionary history," the researchers concluded in their notes.

A Fascinating Group Of People 

Dr. Rodney C. Jubilado from the University of Hawaii who was not a part of the study stated that he first aw the Bajau people when he lived on the Samal Island in the Philippines and was always "fascinated" by them. 

"We were so fascinated that they could stay underwater much longer than us local islanders. I could see them literally walking under the sea," Jubilado stated.

Another researcher who happened to stumble upon the Bajau civilization was Dr. Melissa Ilardo, who in 2015 was studying at the University of Copenhagen, conducted a study of the Bajau and another village, the Saluan. Dr. Illardo did an ultrasound on members from each village, which she compared and the results which showed the Bajau people had larger spleens.

Dr. Ilardo stated that Bajau people were like "super-humans" and that had "extraordinary" capabilities but also stated that natural selection is much more powerful than realized and should be given more credit. Dr. Ilardo also stated that she was excited to share her findings with the Bajau people as she felt that they understood the "science" behind her research and to satisfy their curiosity about the world and themselves. 

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