9. Bajau People Of Indonesia Can Hold Their Breath Underwater For An Unusually Long Time
The Bajau people of Indonesia are called sea nomads or sea gypsies because of their ability to remain underwater for several minutes without any equipment. The most experienced divers can remain underwater for 13 minutes before returning to the surface to breathe. Researchers from Cambridge University discovered that the Bajau people can do this because their bodies adapted to diving, causing their spleens to increase by 50 percent.
Before the discovery, researchers had always suspected the size of our spleens had something to do with our ability to remain underwater. A larger spleen compresses underwater, releasing oxygen-rich blood into the body. This reduces oxygen use and allows us to stay underwater for longer. In the case of the Bajau people, they have a unique gene that increases secretion of the thyroid hormone T4, which causes larger spleens.